Every year at air shows across the country — and a few around the world — enthusiasts can take in the sheer power and capabilities of the U.S. Air Force’s best. Demonstrators include the F-35A Lightning II Demo Team, the F-16 Viper Demo Team, the F-22 Raptor Demo Team, and the A-10C Thunderbolt II Demo Team.
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This month, Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, certified the aerial demonstration teams ahead of the 2023 air show season, and the major command recently announced the 2023 ACC demonstration team pilots. Throughout an airshow season that stretches across nine months, the single-ship demonstration teams travel across the United States to connect with the American public and veterans, recruit and retain personnel, and display Air Force airpower to the public.
The teams further serve to highlight ACC’s combat capabilities through aerial demonstrations, while paying tribute to U.S. Air Force history by flying unique heritage formation flights and interacting with local communities through outreach events.
Capable Men and Women
Today, an increasingly diverse group of airmen make up the ACC demo teams, each with an important role in the teams’ mission. The pilots command and lead their teams in showcasing the unmatched maneuverability and airpower capabilities of the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II, F-16 Viper, F-22 Raptor, and the A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft.
Maj. Kristin Wolfe was named commander of F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team, 388th Fighter Wing, out of Hill Air Force Base (AFB), Utah. She leads the mission to showcase the unique aerial capabilities of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighter. Wolfe is a former F-22A pilot and an operational F-35A pilot assigned to Hill AFB. She has more than 900 flying hours, including time in the T-6 Texan and T-38 Talon.
Heading the F-16 Viper Demo Team out of Shaw AFB, South Carolina, is Capt. Aimee Fiedler. She leads the mission that highlights the unique multi-role fighter capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, also known as the Viper. Fielder is an operational F-16 pilot assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB with more than 2,000 flying hours and prior experience as a civilian flight instructor.
Capt. Samuel Larson is the commander of the F-22 Demonstration Team, 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis. His team will showcase the maneuverability of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, a fifth-generation air dominance stealth fighter. Larson is an operational F-22 pilot assigned to the 1st Operations Group within the 1st Fighter Wing, and an experienced combat fighter pilot with more than 750 hours flying the T-6 Texan, T-38 Talon, and F-22A. This year, Capt. Larson replaces Maj. Joshua Gunderson as the commander and pilot of the F-22 Demonstration Team.
Capt. Lindsay Johnson, commander, A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team pilot, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, leads the team highlighting the unique maneuverability and combat capabilities of the Air Force’s premier close air support fighter, the A-10 “Warthog.” As a veteran instructor pilot, Johnson has amassed over 1,250 flight hours in the T-38 Talon and A-10C, while her flying experience includes 431 combat flight hours. This year, Johnson replaces Maj. Haden Fullam as the commander and pilot of the A-10 demonstration team.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.