Swiss state aircraft manufacturer Flug-und Fahrzeugwerke A.G. (FFA) received a contract for a jet to replace various piston-engined ground-attack types in 1952. The FFA P-16 was designed specifically for Swiss conditions, with particular emphasis on being able to operate from short alpine runways. The first prototype, the P-16.04, made its initial flight on 28 April 1955. It later crashed into Lake Constance following failure of one small component. Four pre-series aircraft were ordered and later so, too, were 100 production fighters. The third prototype also crashed in Lake Constance. The government used this as an excuse to cancel its orders, but FFA flew two more P-16s under civil registrations in 1959 and 1960. These armed aircraft were more representative of a production fighter and met all the Swiss Air Forces requirements, but did not lead to any new orders. The fifth and last P-16 is preserved at the Swiss Air Force Museum at Dubendorf.
Although the FFA P-16 never entered service, the innovative wing design fed directly to Bill Lear’s Learjet 23, and its influence can still be seen today in the large numbers of Learjets of various models on the civil registers of the world.
1 he thin wing did not allow any room for fuel, so the wingtip fuel tanks became a necessity. These are also a prominent feature of the Learjet family.
The P-16 had a particularly strong landing gear with dual wheels for rough field operation. The P-16 could operate from an airstrip only 494m (1620ft) in length.
The P-16’s unswept, thin-section, high-aspect ratio wing was designed both for high subsonic cruise speeds and low landing speeds, qualities that also proved suitable for small business jets.
- CREW: one
- POWERPLANT: one 35.14kN (7900lb-thrust) Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire A.S.Sa.6 turbojet
- MAX SPEED: 998km/h (620mph)
- MAX ALTITUDE: 15,240m (50,000ft)
- SPAN: 11.14m (36ft 7in)
- LENGTH: 14.30m 46ft 11in)
- HEIGHT: 4.25m (13ft 11in)
- WEIGHT: 11,720kg (25,838lb)