HEART OF UTAH

Heart of Utah: F-35 Demo Team Commander Maj. Kristin BEO Wolfe

Apr 7, 2021, 10:45 AM | Updated: Apr 8, 2021, 10:06 am

Editorial note: After our interview with Major Kristin Wolfe, but before this story aired, she was promoted from captain to major. As a result, there are some versions of this story, including audio and video, where we refer to her by the outdated title of captain. We apologize for any confusion. 

LAYTON, Utah — Hill Air Force Base is home to dozens of F-35 fighter jets. And if you’ve lived in northern Utah for any stretch of time you’ve probably seen a few of them up in the skies.

Command and control: Maj. Kristin “BEO” Wolfe

Next time when you look up and see one of those stealth fighters, you may be watching Maj. Kristin “BEO” Wolfe at the controls.

She is the pilot and commander of the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II Demo Team, based at Hill.

“We’ve got about 78 jets here at Hill,” said Wolfe. “It’s pretty cool that I flew a jet last night in training, and I could fly that exact same jet in the demo today that I flew tactically yesterday.”

Wolfe joined the Air Force in college and flew F22s at Langley before coming to Utah. As the commander of the F-35 Demo Team and a pilot, she showcases what the F-35 Lightning II can do in air shows and demonstrations around the country.

The F-35 Demo Team in action

She says it can be strenuous to pull 8 or 9 Gs, but none of that G load is sustained for very long. She says during the course of their 15-minute show they’re in and out of those maneuvers pretty quickly during the demonstration.

“It’s really exciting single ship stuff, so one airplane flying at a given time. We fly for about 15 minutes and then we show off the high-speed performance of the aircraft, so just below supersonic. And we show off slow speed, which is right around 100ish miles an hour,” said Wolfe.

While she is in the air, the ground crew is doing a narration and telling the audience what they are seeing, and how it can relate to combat. And they have a soundtrack for the maneuvers.

F-35 Demonstration Team holds behind-the-scenes performance

 

Inspiring future female fighter pilots

“BEO” is Wolfe’s call sign. She may be one of only a handful of female fighter pilots in the US; as of January 2020, the Air Force said women make up 21% of all Air Force members, and of that, 806 are pilots.

But BEO said the jet doesn’t care if the pilot is a man or a woman.

“You’ll be walking by a family and the parent says to the little girl, ‘Hey, she was flying that airplane.’ The girl looks over and says, ‘Girls can fly planes?’ And you’re like, yeah, totally, that’s why we’re here,” said Wolfe.

Fun F-35 facts

Here’s some fun stuff she can share about the plane: The stick actually only moves about an inch and a half in each direction, and it’s all an input to the computer. And there are six external cameras, which are infrared to see differences in heat. The pilot can put the cameras’ video into their visor and see what they are seeing.

So you can see through the plane essentially with the bottom camera.

“But I always tell people, technically, there’s no reason to be looking through your body when you’re going 600 miles an hour straight, so we use that obviously for missile warning primarily, and then as a backup night vision,” said Wolfe.

The F-35 Demo Team lists the calendar of their demonstrations and shows on their website and social media channels.

But you can’t ask for a ride. These jets just have one spot, for the pilot. And Major Wolfe is happy to show you all the tricks from your safe seat on the ground.

F-35 jets flyover Utah to thank healthcare workers, veterans

U.S. Air Force Capt. Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team commander and pilot, performs the "high-speed pass" maneuver at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Air Show Nov. 22, 2020, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During this maneuver, the jet flies at approximately .95 mach, which is just below the speed of sound at approximately 728 miles per hour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner) Capt. Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot, prepares to takeoff during a practice flight at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Jan. 31, 2020. Capt. Wolfe is a veteran fighter pilot with over 800 flight hours in both the F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner). Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot and commander, banks hard right leaving behind long contrails during a practice demonstration at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Mar. 23, 2021. The demonstration team is part of Air Combat Command and is assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB. Capt. Wolfe grew up a military child as the daughter of retired Col. Jon Wolfe and has flown the T-6 Texan II, T-38 Talon, F-22 Raptor and now the F-35A Lightning II.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd) U.S. Air Force Captain Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team Commander, signals the she is ready to launch for a demonstration practice near Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 26, 2020. Despite 2020 travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the demonstration team has continued to practice and perform virtually to stay performance-ready. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner). Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot and commander, lifts off the runway and retracts the landing gear to begin a practice demonstration at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Mar. 23, 2021. The demonstration team is part of Air Combat Command and is assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB. Capt. Wolfe grew up a military child as the daughter of retired Col. Jon Wolfe and has flown the T-6 Texan II, T-38 Talon, F-22 Raptor and now the F-35A Lightning II.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd) Capt. Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot, prepares for launch during a practice flight at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 29, 2020. The demonstration team is now part of ACC and is assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner). A P-51 Mustang from the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation flies in formation with U.S. Air Force Maj. Joshua "Cabo" Gunderson, F-22 Demonstration Team commander and pilot, Maj. Cody “ShIV” Wilton, A-10 Demonstration Team commander and pilot, and Capt. Kristin “BEO” Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team commander and pilot at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Air Show Nov. 21, 2020, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The heritage flight is flown at air shows to showcase the past, present, and future Air Force aviation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner)

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Heart of Utah

Utah history...
Elizabeth Weiler

Division of State History spreading awareness for Utah History Month in January

SALT LAKE CITY — In 2019, Utahs Division of State History created Utah History Month to draw attention to Utah’s history work happening across our state and to document and preserve that history. Utah is entering its’ 127th year of statehood next month and many Utah-culture related events and exhibits will follow according to the […]
2 months ago
Water Canyon High School footbal players stay warm using Dixie High School football teams cold weat...
Alejandro Lucero

Water Canyon football stays warm with help from school district partner

The high school's inaugural football season almost came to an end because of the snow, but strong partnerships gave them a fighting chance.
3 months ago
The very first ever Miss Volunteer America is Mapleton, Utah's own Alexa Knutzer. Photo courtesy of...
Mark Jackson

Mapleton woman crowned first-ever ‘Miss Volunteer America’

Alexa Knutzen said the name Miss Volunteer America represents the organization's new focus on women's empowerment.
9 months ago
refugees Ukraine...
Mark Jackson

Brigham City man uses time between work gigs to help refugees in Ukraine

His family says Solomon Smith is uniquely trained to bring supplies to refugees in Ukraine, after having worked in the Peace Corp in Africa.
10 months ago
Spencer Truman st george wwii veteran...
Simone Seikaly

St. George WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday on Valentine’s Day

Spencer Truman was trained to enter combat in gliders, and fought in Operations Overlord and Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge.
12 months ago
afghan community fund helps refugees arriving in utah - small boy holds drawing...
Becky Bruce

Update: Afghan Community Fund raises more than a million for Utah refugees

The Afghan Community Fund collected more than $1.1 million since mid-October, though Gov. Spencer Cox acknowledged an unprecedented level of need.
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023.  What is skijoring? Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and […]
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Heart of Utah: F-35 Demo Team Commander Maj. Kristin BEO Wolfe