Aviation Pioneers

Sener Koltuk, Turkey’s First F-16 Test Pilot

In this article we are going the discuss the life of Sener Koltuk, Turkey’s first F-16 test pilot.

Sener Koltuk’s Early Life And Education

Sener Koltuk was born in Istanbul, Turkey in the year 1951. He has finished his highschool education in Istanbul as well and wanted to pursue a career in aviation as a soldier. Following his highschool education, he went on to study at the Air Force Academy. At the young age of 19, he started serving in the Turkish Air Forces as a liutenant in 1970.

Aviation Career Of Sener Koltuk

After his education in the Air Force Academy, he served as a fighter pilot and also trained other aviators as well during his service in the Turkish Air Forces. Aside from training other pilots, he also actively fought during his service. In the Cyprus Peace Operation of 1974 started by Turkey, he has successfully completed many missions, operating a North American F-100 Super Sabre supersonic jet.

After his brave service in the 1974 Cyprus War, he became a respected war veteran. For years he has kept serving his country, training lots of brave pilots like himself and performing his duties skillfully. As a result of his hard work through all those years and proficiency as an aviator, he was promoted to the rank of Major.

Sener Koltuk
Sener Koltuk

After valiantly and brilliantly serving in the Turkish Air Forces for 17 years, Şener Koltuk left the army in 1987 in order to do the test flights of F-16 aircraft produced by TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc.) located in Ankara, Turkey. These aircraft were produced as a part of the “Predecessor Project” started in accordance with an agreement made with the Turkish Air Forces.

At this point he was selected to be the test pilot for the first jets produced in Turkey when he was 36 years old. For him this would signify his mastery over his domain and he was very proud to be picked for such an honorable duty. The task that he was given required lots of courage, skill and a sense of responsibility to be carried out successfully. Thankfully, Sener Koltuk had all of these qualities and he was going to fulfill his duty masterfully.

On the 14th of October 1987 in Ankara, Sener Koltuk completed the test flight of the first F-16 aircraft produced in Turkey by Turkish Aerospace Industries. He pushed all of the limits of the aircraft to the maximum and explored its capabilities. He tried all the maneuvers and tricks, testing the aircraft throughly.

After this first successfully completed test flight, he kept working as a test pilot for Turkish Aerospace Industries for 18 years. During those 18 years as a test pilot, he completed the test flight of 521 aircraft and did 1042 flights in total. All of these flights were done successfully and his career as a test pilot proved his skills as an aviator once more.

On the 12th of June 2008, Sener Koltuk died as a result of a heart attack at the age of 57.


Anon. (n.d.), Şener Koltuk, Vikipedi, Retrieved 24 July 2021

< https://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9Eener_Koltuk >

Yağız Kurt (August 17, 2020), Şener Koltuk: Türkiye’deki İlk F-16 Test Pilotu, evimuzay, Retrieved 24 July 2021

< https://evimuzay.com/sener-koltuk-turkiyedeki-ilk-f-16-test-pilotu/ >