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F-16 - 42 years and counting

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Wasn't the seat reclined simply because it would not fit otherwise?

Absolutely not. Where did you ever hear such a ridiculous notion? Aircraft designers are pretty good at making things fit. It was reclined in order to help with high-G tolerance, and for no other reason.

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Love the F-16, a good dose of new technology with just very clever design.

PS Hard to believe it's been +25 years since the 1st flight of the YF-22!

PPS On the intake discussion, all inlets of supersonic aircraft decelerate the incoming airflow to subsonic speed before it reaches the compressor. The basic challenge of a supersonic inlet is to decelerate the airflow as efficiently as possible, which means the difference in kinetic energy (from reducing the velocity of the incoming air mass) should be converted to an increase in pressure and not an increase in temperature (the basic thermodynamic i.e. Carnot efficiency is dictated by the difference between compressor inlet temperature and turbine inlet temperature, so the compressor intake temperature should be as low as possible and the combustor temperature should be as high as possible).

The simple F-16 style intake decelerates the air through one large shockwave, which becomes relatively inefficient at speeds over Mach 2. The variable ramp intakes decelerate the air through multiple, lower-gradient shockwaves and are therefore more efficient at very high speeds. Nowadays, aircraft top speeds are no longer restricted by engine performance (because the engines are so powerful), plus there is somewhat less emphasis on very high speed, so designers have chosen to go with reduced-weight, less complex fixed designs (that can also be made more stealthy).



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