Michael Balter reports…
Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands - on 20 April, a Dutch Air Force F-16AM went head-to-head with a Formula 1 Grand Prix racing car! During this exclusive meeting, Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One driver Christijan Albers raced his F8-VII F1 challenger against pilot Ralph 'Sheik' Aarts's demo jet. This publicity event, named 'Full Throttle', was organised by the Royal Netherlands Air Force to raise awareness of its recruitment programme.
On 11 December
2003 I had the opportunity to see the Typhoon vs Ferrari F2006-GA at Grosseto
Airbase in Italy - now I've had my second opportunity to see a race car
racing against a fighter - what a show!
Christijan's F8-VII race car has more than 700 bhp and can easily reach 350 kph, the same speed the F-16 reaches before taking off. In the air, however, the 'Viper' can easily top twice the speed of sound, a massive 2,020 kph. With 25,000lbs of thrust, or the equivalent of 10,000 bhp, the F-16AM is leagues ahead of the Formula 1 car. G-forces are greater too: for example, while Christijan's Spyker F1 race car can pull more than +5g racing through a corner, the F-16 is stressed up to +9g.
After his victory, 'Sheik' performed a spectacular flying display over the air base. Captain Ralph Aarts is one of the RNLAF's most experienced F-16 pilots, with more than 1,100 flying hours, including operational missions in Afghanistan. The twenty-eight year-old started his air force career in 1997 and received his wings in 2000 - after that he went on to join 313 Squadron in 2001 and relocated to Volkel, the largest Royal Netherlands Air Force Base, in 2005.
My special thanks go to Staf Voorlichting Vliegbasis Volkel staff for their great support and the crews of the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One team, plus Captain Ralph 'Sheik' Aarts for his first official solo-display, without which this trip would not have been so successful!