The Raptor Showing Us Why It’s a Superior Dogfighter

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, takes off for an exercise sortie in support of Cope Taufan 14 at Royal Malaysian air force P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia, June 10, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

Scott Stringham is a photographer, and like Jim Mumaw whose work we shared earlier, he’s a damn good one. Not too long ago, at Hill AFB’s annual airshow, Scott took a series of frames of an F-22 Raptor doing a flip and merged them into a composite image (the image is posted below). Now, any fighter aircraft can do a flip, yes. But not every aircraft can do it the way the Raptor does, thanks to its Y-axis two-dimensional thrust vectoring. In a dogfight, the pilot who turns the slowest is often the one who gets taken out the fastest. Modern 4th generation fighters attempt to give their pilots the edge by tapping into relaxed stability, the inherent tendency to revert to unstable flight. This gives aircraft like the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Hornet serious maneuverability. And when you add thrust vectoring into the mix, like the Raptor does, you get insane agility, and the ability to turn on a dime, positioning yourself in for a clear shot behind your swerving bogey.

You can check out more of Scott’s work at his website,!

© Scott Stringham, 2006.

© Scott Stringham, 2006.

About Ian D'Costa (240 Articles)
Ian is the editor-in-chief of the Tactical Air Network. His work has been republished and quoted in a number of publications, including The Toronto Star, Airsoc, Business Insider and The Aviationist. You can reach him at

2 Comments on The Raptor Showing Us Why It’s a Superior Dogfighter

  1. To perform these acrobatically agile flips, does the pilot have to slow down i.e. lose energy?


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