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F-16 VDT announces new pilot

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, performs preflight checks before performing an aerial demonstration at Joint Base Langley-Eustice, Va., Jan. 29, 2019

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, performs preflight checks before performing an aerial demonstration at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Jan. 29, 2019. Kotnik has over 1,000 flying hours in her eight years of military service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, performs a precision aerial demonstration over the flight line at Joint Base Langley-Eustice, Va., Jan. 28, 2019

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, performs a precision aerial demonstration over the flight line at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Jan. 28, 2019. Kotnik was originally assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., before she earned an assignment to the demonstration team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, sits in her aircraft while shaking the hand of Staff Sgt. Austin Dixon, F-16 VDT dedicated crew chief, prior to performing an aerial demonstration at Joint Base Langley-Eustice, Va., Jan. 29, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, sits in her aircraft while shaking the hand of Staff Sgt. Austin Dixon, F-16 VDT dedicated crew chief, prior to performing an aerial demonstration at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Jan. 29, 2019. Kotnik’s team supported her success by ensuring her aircraft was properly maintained and safe for flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, smiles after a certification flight at Joint Base Langley-Eustice, Va., Jan. 29, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, smiles after a certification flight at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Jan. 29, 2019. Kotnik performed more than 30 practice missions before the certification. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, center, speaks with Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, right, and Master Sgt. Chris Schneider, F-16 VDT superintendent, following Kotnik’s certification flight at Joint Base Langley-Eustice, Va., Jan. 29, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, center, speaks with Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, right, and Master Sgt. Chris Schneider, F-16 VDT superintendent, following Kotnik’s certification flight at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Jan. 29, 2019. Holmes certified Kotnik which enabled her to offically become the F-16 VDT’s new pilot and the Air Force’s first female single-ship aerial demonstration pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, performs a precision aerial demonstration near Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 20, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) commander and pilot, performs a precision aerial demonstration near Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 20, 2018. Kotnik completed more than six months of training in preparation for the F-16 VDT’s 2019 air show season which is her first as team commander. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Dixon, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) dedicated crew chief, left, and Staff Sgt. Ryan Davis, F-16 VDT aerospace propulsion craftsman, stand beside Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 VDT commander and pilot, as she taxis her F-16CM Fighting Falcon on the flight line at Joint Base Langley-Eustice, Va., Jan. 28, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Dixon, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) dedicated crew chief, left, and Staff Sgt. Ryan Davis, F-16 VDT aerospace propulsion craftsman, stand beside Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik, F-16 VDT commander and pilot, as she taxis her F-16CM Fighting Falcon on the flight line at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Jan. 28, 2019. Kotnik performed a practice demonstration prior to an Air Combat Command certification flight to become familiar with the airfield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, certified the new F-16 Viper Demonstration Team pilot and commander ahead of the 2019 season, Jan. 29.

Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik is the Air Force’s first female single-ship aerial demonstration pilot and has over 1,000 flying hours in her eight years of military service.

“What I’m looking forward to most is the potential to have an influence on younger generations,” said Kotnik. “I know firsthand how impactful airshows can be and what a difference it makes to young people to see just one example of what they too can do and who they can become. I hope to be a source of inspiration and motivation they can draw from to apply in their own lives.”

The new commander, originally assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, solidified her leadership of the team following extensive training including four certifications, off-station training flights and more than 30 practice missions.

This preseason training’s goal is to ensure a safe year as the team performs at approximately 20 locations across the world in 2019.

“These shows allow us to demonstrate the capabilities of the F-16 to a world-wide audience while highlighting the work of the Airmen who keep the Viper flying,” said Master Sgt. Chris Schneider, F-16 VDT superintendent. “It’s not every day people get the chance to hear the sound of freedom roaring over their heads or watch a team of maintainers working together to make it happen.”

The F-16 VDT gives individuals a firsthand look at the world’s premiere multi-role fighter aircraft through precision aerial maneuvers while working toward their mission of inspiring the next generation of Airmen while helping the public identify with the military.

For more information on the F-16 VDT or for the team’s 2019 schedule, visit www.shaw.af.mil/Viper-Demo-Team.