Celebrated F-16 test pilot Neil Anderson has died aged 72 after a career that included time in more than 250 aircraft types, a belly-landing in an F-16, and victory in the unlimited class at the Reno air races.

Test pilot Neil Anderson

Neil Anderson

The Star-Telegram newspaper in Fort Worth, where the immensely successful fighter was built by General Dynamics and then Lockheed Martin, has a nice tribute to Anderson.

It reveals how he planned to become a priest before opting for flying instead, and tells the story of how he saved the YF-16 prototype by belly-landing it after a main landing-gear failure. Anderson walked away from the landing and the airframe survived  - an astonishing feat of airmanship.

In 1982 he recorded his victory at Reno in a modified Hawker Sea Fury and continued working at Lockheed Martin as a marketing executive playing a key role in selling the F-16 until his retirement in1996. He continued flying and founded a group that displayed three North American T-28 Trojans at airshows.

Source: FlightGlobal.com