OGDEN, UTAH — The U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command announced Saturday the selection of the first female to both command and pilot the F-35A Demonstration Team during the 2020-2021 air show seasons.
Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe has been selected as the new leader the F-35A Demo Team. She also becomes the Air Force’s first female single-ship aerial demonstration pilot.
Wolfe will pilot the military’s newest fifth-generation jet during 20 show site visits between March and November. The nearly 18-minute demonstration will showcase the F-35s speed and high-G turns before the spectator crowds.
“It’s extremely humbling and rewarding to get the opportunity to showcase the F-35A at so many different locations,” Wolfe said on Saturday. “It’s a privilege to work with the best airmen from Hill Air Force Base, and to give people a small glimpse of what this jet is capable of.”
The F-35A Demo Team has been preparing for the start of the air show season. Capt. Wolfe’s training flights over the snow-covered mountains surrounding Hill AFB have been picturesque during January and February.
“She was a phenomenal choice as the next pilot and commander of the F-35A Demo Team,” Outgoing F-35A Demo pilot Maj. Andrew “Dojo” Olson added. “As a previous F-22A Raptor Instructor Pilot, she’s flown and instructed in fifth generation fighters her entire career.”
Wolfe graduated from the University of Alabama in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. A few weeks later, she began training as a pilot in the Air Force. She earned her silver wings in September 2012.
She began piloting the F-22 Raptor, and in 2017, transitioned over to the F-35 Lightning II. Capt. Wolfe has logged nearly 800 total fighter hours in each of the Air Force’s fifth-generation aircraft.
Capt. Wolfe, who flies by the call sign “Beo” as in the Old English epic poem Beowulf, recently served as a pilot with the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB. As a member of the 34th’s Rude Rams, she was deployed to Kadena Air Base in Japan for six months between November 2017 to May 2018.
In July 2019, Capt. Wolfe participated with her fellow pilots in Gunfighter Flag 19-2. The annual military aircraft exercise involved F-35s, F-15s, and A-10s practicing target strikes at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho.
Before she was selected to lead and pilot the demo team, Capt. Wolfe served as an instructor pilot for the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill. When she’s not flying, Wolfe enjoys water skiing and hiking in the mountains.
Capt. Wolfe’s role as a pilot and team leader is destined to inspire women of all ages. She and the team will visit schools and hospitals at air show sites to inspire young adults into a career with the Air Force.
“When we travel to different air shows across the country, we’re there to recruit, engage, and inspire the next generation,” F-35 Demo Team spokesperson Capt. Kip Sumner explained on Saturday. “When we travel across the world, it’s to showcase the professionalism and excellence of our United States Air Force. Whether that’s visiting with schools, hospitals, or veterans organizations, we aim to tell our story through the lens of being an Air Force demonstration team.”
(Charles A. Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)