Aviation Museum Celebrates First F-16 Air to Air Kill

The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor recently rolled out a freshly repainted F-16A with the name of retired Air Force Gen Gary “Nordo” North on the cockpit. Gen North — then a LtCol and squadron commander of the 33FS — was flying an F-16 when he shot down a MiG-25 violating the Southern No Fly Zone over Iraq in 1992.

The kill marked the first-ever air-to-air kill by an F-16, and also the first-ever air-to-air kill with an AIM-120 AMRAAM — much to the chagrin of the F-15 Eagles whose sole role was air combat, and who carried the AMRAAM as their exclusive active radar guided missile.

There’s one issue, however. We can forgive the fact they’re using a single-seat A-model as opposed to a single-seat C-model, as there may not be any of the much newer C’s available to use in a museum or static display.

But there was one other unique — and now infamous — attribute of Gen North’s aircraft.

It was a D-model — that is, a two-seat F-16:

The actual F-16 flown for the first air-to-air kill, star on the canopy rail.

The D-model is generally reserved for training (the instructor rides in the back) or VIP/incentive rides. It remains a running joke even in the F-16 community that the first air-to-air kill in an F-16 occurred in “the family model” of the Viper.