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SOLOTURK “Turkey’s Pride in the Skies”

Issue 54

The” distinguished guest” at the Berlin ILA Air Show that took place between 20-25 May was the SOLO TURK demonstration team that is the pride in the skies of the Turkish Air Force Command. During the show, a single F-16 Fighter Jet with special choreography undertook very difficult manoeuvres and movements during 6 days in Berlin for hundreds of thousands of spectators. 

The solo air display by an F-16 - that only takes place in the world by Holland, Belgium, U.S. and Greece - is also carried out since 2011 by the SOLO TURK demonstration team that combines challenging movements with delightful choreography. 

The success behind SOLO TURK lies in a 13 member crew. The crew is made up of three sections as the flight crew, support crew and the maintenance crew. While the flight crew consists of 1st Demonstration Pilot Cpt. Yusuf Kurt and 2nd Demonstration Pilot 1st Lt. Erhan Güner, the support crew with special choreographic presentations that add colour to the air displays is the responsibility of the Media and Public Relations Officer 1st Lt. Emrah Bayrı and Cmsgt. Erhan Alaz. The maintenance crew includes 1st Lt. Cem Yasin Okumuş, Jet Aircraft Mechanic Smsgt.  Alper Kalkan, Jet Engine Technician Smsgt. Levent Kozulu, Weapon Systems Technician Smsgt. Levent Özen, EECS Technician Cmsgt. Serdar Kozan, Hydraulic Systems Technician Smsgt. Lütfi Erdoğan, Fuel Systems Technician Smsgt. FC Efkan Temiz, Avionics Systems Technician Smsgt. Yiğit Surgun and Jet Aircraft Mechanic Cmsgt. Abdurrahman Meyveci.  

SOLO TURK founded in 2009

The “Solo F-16 Aircraft Display Flight” Program that began work on 25 November 2009 by the Air Force Command came into being with the selection of Air Pilot Maj. Murat Keleş, Air Pilot Cpt. Fatih Batmaz and Air Pilot Cpt. S. Yalın Ahbab as the founding crew. With the first training sortie on 18 May 2010 by Air Pilot Maj. Murat Keleş, SOLO TURK’s “Ride in the sky” commenced. Following a 3 month training period on 20 August 2010, Air Pilot Maj. Murat Keleş was successful in becoming the first F-16 solo demonstration pilot. SOLO TURK’s first demonstration flight took place on 1 September 2010 during the commencement of the 2010-2011 flight training year with the participation of Air Force Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay at the 4th Main Jet Base Command.

The name ”Solo Turk” was chosen from among approximately 300 names sent by Air Force Command personnel. 

SOLO TURK continues its activities with 3 pilots and 3 support personnel from the 141st Fleet Command and 9 personnel selected from the 4th Jet Base Command’s Aircraft Maintenance Command as maintenance crew. 

SOLO TURK provides its knowledge and ability at the highest level for the capabilities and use of the F16 aircraft as a demonstration to spectators. The air demonstrations take place in a single F-16 Block 40 jet and during displays white smoke is releases from two smoke devices which are on the edge of both wings. The demonstrations take approximately 18-20 minutes with 20 maneuvers. The jet’s speed varies between 220 km and 1,200 km. According to the terms where the demonstration takes place, SOLO TURK can descent 30 meters to the ground and can climb 5 kilometers during a demonstration. What distinguishes SOLO TURK from its competitors are certain special manoeuvres that always takes place. The “SOLO TURK departure,” where the aircraft, after cutting its wheels from the runway with a simultaneous sudden reversal gains altitude has already taken its place in the literature of air demonstrations. 

The Story of SOLOTURK’s Design

As an advanced technology product, the F-16’s graphic design appeared as a result of a highly different, special and unusual application. The long-term and attentive work on the graphic design by graphic designer Murat Dorkip on the SOLO TURK shows a newly designed eagle detail as the symbol of the Turkish nation throughout history and the Turkish Air Force.

The gold colours of the crescent star on the lower side of the aircraft while the SOLO TURK is in flight is our national symbol that waves in the sky by the Turkish Air Force and that symbolizes the epitome of the honour of the Turkish nation and the attachment to the meaning and value it represents. The silver coloured star on top of the aircraft symbolizes the Republic of Turkey’s and Turkish Air Forces’ ideal of being the star of the 21st century.

The bright black eagle placed on a matt black background on the wing of SOLO TURK in flight while symbolizing the freedom and determination of the spirit of aviators, the black and gray diagonal lines that stretch to the aircraft’s nose describes the aviators’ rapid thinking and decision-making, continuous progress and knows no limits qualities. In addition, the silver, black and gold colours selected for the graphic design carries the perceptions of value, suspense and power that alludes to the vision of having air, space and knowledge power of the Turkish Air Force in the 21st century.

After the Berlin ILA Air Show, SOLO TURK’s next stop will be the U.K. in July where two back-to-back demonstrations are planned. According to current plans, the team will carry out a demonstration in Belgium in September.