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I just watched Iron Eagle and was surprised when they just flew a couple F-16’s to a fictional country based on Lybia. I thought they were in the US up to that point. The father who worked on the air force base would make patrols off the coast of that country, so it makes sense that the base was set up for that purpose.

Any idea where they were? (I don’t mean where is not-Lybia, I mean where is the air base where the kids lived and the planes left from?)

The “ferry range” of the plane is about 2600 miles. There are mountains near the base.

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    As I recall the "ferry" range isn't relevant as Chappy faked orders for inflight refuelling.
    – Paulie_D
    Nov 29, 2016 at 6:52
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    What @Paulie_D just said: Doug and Chappy refuel on the way to the combat zone so they can be anywhere that fits the geography. It is not specified in any great detail.
    – MichaelK
    Nov 29, 2016 at 14:28

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During the Cold War (and still today) the USAF had the use of many airbases in NATO countries. These bases are large facilities with thousands of residents, and in many cases the base (or the American portion of it) is economically separate from the “host country.” It’s possible for the children of the personnel posted there to go to school, eat out at a fast food restaurant, and go about other daily activities without really feeling like they’re in a foreign country. (For example, the base might have a McDonald’s restaurant that takes American dollars.)

So, Iron Eagle is set at an air base somewhere in a NATO country. For real-life precedent, the F-111s that bombed Tripoli in 1986 had flown from Britain. A better match to the Southern California filming location is probably Moron Air Base in southern Spain, or Hellenikon Air Base near Athens, Greece.

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According to Wikipedia:

"Making matters worse is the news that his father has been shot down and captured by the fictional Arab state of Bilya while patrolling over the Mediterranean Sea."

"The basis of the fictional story in the film relates to real life attacks by the United States against Libya over the Gulf of Sidra, in particular the 1981 Gulf of Sidra incident."

And the movie was filmed in Israel and California.

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    Yes, I know that. But where was the base where the planes took off from?
    – JDługosz
    Nov 29, 2016 at 6:00
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The analysis that the base was set in a NATO country is flawed. After leaving the base’s main gate in his Mustang Doug drives into town where there’s a sign that says “Alta Vista” which is clearly a name of a fictional American town. Furthermore all of the GA aircraft at the local regional airport where Doug keeps his Cessna have “N” reg numbers indicating US registration. All of the restaurants, gas stations, stores, etc. in the town of Alta Vista are clearly US franchises. Not to mention all of the American vehicles on the roads in town and the American license plates. It was very obviously in the US.

My assumption has always been that Doug’s Dad was currently stationed away from his home base in the California desert where he lived with his family and at a forward air base in a NATO country somewhere close to the target country in the Middle East where he was shot down. When Doug and Gosset Junior’s character flew the rescue mission they flew out of the CA base and mid-air refueled several times in order to reach the target country. When they first take off Sinclair tells Doug to climb to 35,000 feet “until we hit the first refuel” and at one point when Doug asks Sinclair if he’s sleeping they show a camera shot of the fake digital info screen in the cockpit that reads “Next Refuel 5:03:23”. It was clearly a long trip.

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Oh, and the fictional name of the country was never mentioned. Bilyad was the name of a city in the unnamed country.

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  • From IMDB: "The Stateside scenes around the Air Force base were filmed at Camarillo Airport in Oxnard, California."; Also supported by Wikipedia: "..The combined efforts of Chappy and Doug's team result in ..procurement of two heavily armed F-16B jets"; and " ..fly their jets to the Mediterranean Sea and cross into Bilyan airspace." - I haven't seen the film for years but this answer, clarifying the plot point for refueling several times to get there, seems correct. Nov 5, 2022 at 11:28
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In the beginning Doug departs the base and passes a sign that says “Beecher Air Force Base” this is a fictional location. The Stateside scenes around the Air Force base were filmed at Camarillo Airport in Oxnard, California. In real-life, Camarillo Airport was itself a U.S. Air Force base, going by the name of Oxnard Air Force Base until its closure and handover to civilian authorities in 1970. As in this movie, Oxnard flew fighter aircraft, operating the supersonic McDonnell F-101 Voodoo and Convair F-106 Delta Dart until the base closed. Some of the buildings still existing on the property adjacent to the airfield were built and used by the Air Force.

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  • I wasn't asking where it was filmed, and California doesn't work in-story.
    – JDługosz
    May 3, 2021 at 14:06

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