The team has just unveiled its new aircraft. And it’s crazy cool.
Commanded by Maj. Garret “Toro” Schmitz, an operational F-16 pilot assigned to the 20th Operations Group, Shaw AFB, the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team is 15-member team whose mission is to showcase the Viper’s maneuverability at airshows around the world.
“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 last year. “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.”
Although the team can fly aircraft borrowed by units based close to the airshow location, the F-16VDT has also its own airframes, used for training as well as display. The new one has just been introduced. Its nickname is “Venom” and it is also the first F-16 of the team to sport a special livery.
The first shots were posted by “Toro” on his Instagram account.
The F-16VDT has worked on the special color for the 2020 airshow season, since December 2019: “While it was scheduled to be completed in March, due to the covid-19 pandemic we paused production to ensure the safety of our crews, but we’re now proud to introduce you to ‘VENOM’. The snake scales across the body of the aircraft fit the namesake of the jet and our signature black and yellow colors feature prominently from nose to tail. We wanted to undertake this project to make a special experience for our fans across the country and to inspire patriotic Americans to serve in the Air Force. Thank you to our wingmen at Shaw Air Force Base corrosion for sharing the enthusiasm for our design and making it a reality. We can’t wait to see @toroschmitz16 #sendit in #venom !”
Most of the airshows of the 2020 season have already been cancelled but don’t worry: the team plans to fly this aircraft for at least three years!