Except when the engine quits. Then they drop like a rock.
Military jets are designed to fly at high speed with lots of thrust pushing them along to create the negative pressure needed on the flight surfaces to sustain lift, and thus flight. Without thrust, aka: engine(s), the only way to develop necessary airspeed is to point the nose down.
But with the F-16, you have one more wrinkle: It's a fly by wire airplane meaning the flight controls are manipulated by the pilot, but operated by a computer. In other words, no cables or direct hydraulics between pilot and ailerons, elevators and rudder. Engine goes, power to computers go--unless you can get your EPU (Emergency Power Unit) fired up.
Translation? To paraphrase our worthless vice president, losing your engine in an F-16 "is a big (f-bombing) deal."
Here is a video of a USAF reservist with pure ice water in his veins making a deadstick landing into Elizabeth City, North Carolina after his engine went mammary glands up.
Here are a few observations you might find interesting:
• The whole episode, from start-to-finish only takes about 3 1/2 minutes!
• The video begins as the flight is being followed on radar. The flight leader asks for the Elizabeth City tower UHF freq which is repeated as 355.6 and the entire flight switches to that freq: Just one-more-task for the pilot to execute in the cockpit as he reports that his engine has QUIT. He has to activate the Emergency Unit to maintain electric and hydraulic power. This unit is powered by Hydrazine: (the caustic fuel that Germany created in WW II to power their V-2 Rockets and their ME-163 rocket fighters among others.) Thus, the last call about requesting fire support after the jet is safe on deck, and pilot breathing easy.
• Meanwhile, back in the cockpit, the pilot is busily attempting to "Re-light" his engine: (Unsuccessfully, of course) while tending to everything else.
• The video is taken using the Head-Up-Display (HUD) camera which also has a voice recorder.
• The HUD is a very busy instrument, but among things to notice are the 'circle' in the middle which represents the nose of the aircraft and where it is 'pointed': "The velocity Vector".
• The flight leader reports they are 7-miles out from the airport and at 9000 ft altitude. Since the weather is clear and the airport is in sight, this allows for adequate "Gliding distance" to reach a runway with the engine OFF. Rest assured, jet fighters glide sorta like a rock. They don't enjoy the higher lift design of an airliner like that which allowed Sullenburger to land in the NY river.
• Coming down 9000 ft in only 7-miles requires a helluva rate of descent, so the pilot's nose remains well below the "Horizon" until just prior to touching down on the runway. The HUD horizon is a solid, lateral bar, and below the horizon, the horizontal lines appear as dashes. You'll see a "10" on the second dashed line below the horizon which = 10-degrees nose low.
• Radio chatter includes the flight leader calling the tower and the tower stating runway 10 with wind 070@5MPH + altimeter setting of 30.13: yet another step for the pilot to consider.
• The flight leader calls for the pilot to jettison his external fuel tanks and asks another pilot in the flight to "Mark" where they dropped.. The tower later tells the pilot to land on any rwy he chooses.
• Pilot reports "Three in the green" indicating all three gear indicate down and locked which the flight leader acknowledges.
• You will hear the computer voice calling out "Warnings". More confusing chatter when none is welcome or even necessary. (That's "Hi-Tech" for ya.)
• The pilot has only ONE CHANCE to get this right and must also slow to an acceptable landing speed in order to stop on the short runway. You'll see Black rubber on the rwy where "The rubber meets the road" in the touchdown area. Note that during rollout, he gets all the way to the far end which you can see by all the black skid marks where planes have landed heading in the opposite direction.
Besides saving his own skin, this incredibly professional--and brave--pilot also saved the taxpayers around $20 million by bringing the sick Falcon to the ground in one piece.
When's the last time you saw an accountant or lawyer do something like that?
It still boggles my mind why we pay our worthless-ass politicians more than we pay our military people.