F-16 PILOT’S HAT TRICK
Bob Wright, retired United States Air Force F-16 pilot, poses for a photo. After retirement his son Jett followed in his footsteps, becoming an F-16 pilot and getting the chance to fly the same aircraft. U.S. Air Force courtesy photo
On February 28, 1994, during Operation Deny Flight—a NATO mission aimed at enforcing a U.N. no-fly zone in the Balkans conflict—then-Captain Robert Gordon “Wilbur” Wright piloted an aircraft. This significant event, known as the Banja Luka incident, unfolded when six Serbian J-21 Jastreb fighters attacked a factory. Responding to the threat, two Air Force F-16s from the 526th Fighter Squadron, based in Aviano, engaged the attackers.
In the course of the encounter, Captain Wright achieved a hat trick of kills, downing three Serbian J-21s in a matter of minutes using an AIM-120 AMRAAM and two AIM-9 Sidewinders, as documented by the U.S. Air Force. Simultaneously, another F-16 piloted by Captain Stephen L. “Yogi” Allen shot down a fourth J-21 on the same day. Notably, a fifth Serbian J-21 was also lost, but it is not officially recorded as a kill for a U.S. fighter.