Home Air Top Aces first company to certify fourth-gen fighter for commercial ops

Top Aces first company to certify fourth-gen fighter for commercial ops

commercial F-16 adversary air training Top Aces
Photo: Top Aces

Canada-based adversary air training services provider Top Aces has become the first private company in the world to secure a Federal Aviation Administration approval to operate a fourth-generation fighter aircraft under a commercial license.

The company announced the achievement on May 19 after receiving the first four F-16 aircraft from the Israeli Air Force in January this year.

The company’s announcement comes after plane spotters snapped first photos of the F-16 sporting the Top Aces livery in Mesa, Arizona, earlier this week. The milestone first commercial flight of the F-16 took place on May 18.

Top Aces bought 26 second-hand F-16 aircraft from Israel earlier this year to enhance its fleet and support the adversary air support contract US Air Force (USAF).

After the first airframe was delivered, the company’s in-house maintenance team returned the aircraft to full operational and airworthy status at its F-16 center of excellence in Mesa, Arizona.

A fundamental step in preparing Top Aces’ F-16 fleet to serve the USAF is the integration of Top Aces’ open architecture Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS). The system allows for the use of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and infrared search-and-track (IRST) systems on a variety of aircraft types, including the Top Aces’ A-4N Skyhawk fleet.

“By recruiting the most-experienced former USAF aggressor pilots and ground crews, deploying this high-caliber aircraft and upgrading the F-16 with tailor-made system modifications, Top Aces will provide the most tactically challenging, realistic and cost-effective adversary training. The entire Top Aces team is very proud to play our part in providing the men and women who operate USAF and USN front line fighters with the most advanced level of training possible,” Russ Quinn, president, Top Aces Corp, said.