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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Capt. Zoe Kotnik, who, with much fanfare, was announced Jan. 29 as the first female pilot to head the F-16 Viper demonstration team, was relieved of command Monday. Kotnik's selection garnered a great deal of press and social media attention.

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Shaw Air Force Base Facebook Post: Team Shaw, please see a message below from the 20th Fighter Wing commander.

I removed Capt. Kotnik from her position as the commander of the Viper Demo team yesterday, because I lost confidence in her ability to lead the team.

I know that loss of confidence is a common response from the Air Force, whenever someone is removed from a command position, and I think it's important to understand why we take this approach.

We have thousands of Airmen across our Air Force serving our country, and not one of them is perfect. As good people, like Capt. Kotnik make mistakes, I want them to have the opportunity to learn from them without being under public scrutiny, and to continue to be a part of this great service. They'll be better for the experience, and in turn, we'll be better as an Air Force.

In these types of situations, I never forget that we're dealing with real human beings, that I care deeply about, and that we are charged to take care of. This will be a difficult time for Capt. Kotnik, but she's surrounded by wingmen that will help her every step of the way.

It was exciting to have the first female demo team pilot here at Shaw, but I'm also just as excited about the many other females that are serving with great distinction across our Air Force. I'm proud to serve with them, and I'm inspired by them. Even as I speak, another female pilot from the 20th Fighter Wing is flying combat missions in the Middle East.

Maj. Waters, last season's Viper Demo pilot has resumed command, so the team is in great hands, and the show will go on. We're looking forward to another amazing season with this team.

Col. Derek O'Malley

Commander, 20th Fighter Wing

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FTA:

"In a statement on Shaw's Facebook page, O'Malley alluded to "mistakes" on Kotnik's part, but expressed hope that she will continue to serve in the Air Force."

Sounds like code for fraternization issues. I had a wingman who had a similar issue and he was RiRd and grounded for 3 months to fly a desk as penance. On the good news side, both he and the Sgt. that he hooked up with have been married for 23 years and have 2 great kids in college.

Too bad, I heard she is an awesome pilot.

#1 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-02-12 02:03 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

It's a really good demo routine they fly. I believe Colonel Ward, whom was the pilot last year, is coming back to fly this season.

#2 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-12 02:18 PM | Reply

#2

I've never seen it, but all of these demo teams have good sticks flying for them. I hear the routine gets a little mind-numbing, but they are still flying every day.

#3 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-02-12 02:22 PM | Reply

Couldn't pass the parallel parking section.

#4 | Posted by Spork at 2019-02-12 04:29 PM | Reply

Interesting. I hope she can win her position back.

#5 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2019-02-12 09:08 PM | Reply

Is a demo pilot like a less cool Blue Angels pilot? ;)

#6 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2019-02-12 09:24 PM | Reply

#5

Doubtful, once you are relieved of command, it is almost impossible to get it back.

It's terribly unfortunate, especially if this is a fraternization issue, since as I said earlier she is by all accounts an awesome pilot.

#7 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-02-12 09:24 PM | Reply

#6

Same thing, the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds are also demonstration teams.

#8 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-02-12 09:25 PM | Reply

You're just assuming it's fraternization...

#9 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2019-02-12 09:27 PM | Reply

#1 | Posted by Rightocenter

Have you seen this video of the Russian MiG-29? The fun beings about 1:45 in.

www.youtube.com

The closest I've ever come as a private pilot is practicing stalls ...

#10 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2019-02-12 09:30 PM | Reply

#10 | POSTED BY AMERICANUNITY

and unless you've sat in the left seat I'm sure you can't Really appreciate what you're seeing. and in such proximity to each other And the ground

#11 | Posted by 1947steamer at 2019-02-13 12:51 AM | Reply

#11 | Posted by 1947steamer

What I was trying to say was the closest I've been to vertical was practicing stalls. Been flying small props since I was a teenager. The word 'amazing' is incredibly overused but apt to describe what those pilots and their aircraft are capable of doing. I'd seen MiG029s vertically hover in videos before, but never that close to the ground. Amazing! I've seen Harriers hover and such, but what these MiGs can do is thrust vectoring to the extreme!

#12 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2019-02-13 01:43 AM | Reply

#12 | POSTED BY AMERICANUNITY

I soloed in a 172 in 1975 and since then have just putzed around when I get the chance. got to fly a cardinal last summer. I have just enough insight to realize that what we're seeing is a whole bunch more than just a couple of guys doing some fancy flying

#13 | Posted by 1947steamer at 2019-02-13 02:03 AM | Reply

Too bad you war whores can't manage to win one.

#14 | Posted by RightisTrite at 2019-02-13 04:32 AM | Reply | Funny: 3

#13 | Posted by 1947steamer

The vids of MiG-20s hovering in mid air I've seen in the last couple of years were impressive, but the maneuvering these guys did so close to the ground was simply incredible.

#15 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2019-02-13 04:45 AM | Reply

#15 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY

It's like porn...hard to quit lookin'

#16 | Posted by ABlock at 2019-02-13 05:42 AM | Reply

Those were remote controlled aircraft flown by hobbyists. Not acatual MiG-29s. I'm pretty sure the actual MiGs don't have thrust vectoring, even thoufh some of the other RUS jets do.

#17 | Posted by madbomber at 2019-02-13 06:37 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Doubtful, once you are relieved of command, it is almost impossible to get it back."

I don't think it's an actual "Command" command. If it were, her name patch would have a little Commander badge on it. It does not. More likely, this position is akin to a flight commander position, which is considered a stepping stone in career progression, but relatively unimportant.

An AF aviator is unlikely to be placed in an actual command job until they hit O-5. Non-aviators may be placed in a command job earlier in their career.

#18 | Posted by madbomber at 2019-02-13 06:43 AM | Reply

"I had a wingman who had a similar issue and he was RiRd and grounded for 3 months to fly a desk as penance."

The Marines can demote officers? I know there are some differences in the services, but that's huge. An AF officer can be fired, dismissed from service, but I've never heard of an officer being demoted for punative reasons.

#19 | Posted by madbomber at 2019-02-13 06:45 AM | Reply

Skips P3 will hover if he puts a turboprop on it. Dead project though, so sad.

#20 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-13 06:48 AM | Reply

#19 the USAF took 2 stars from the chief of AMC in 2009 for coercing female subordinates into sex.

#21 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-13 07:24 AM | Reply

I have just enough insight to realize that what we're seeing is a whole bunch more than just a couple of guys doing some fancy flying

#13 | POSTED BY 1947STEAMER AT 2019-02-13 02:03 AM | FLAG:

They're "cheating". The jet demo teams use auto-throttle. It's why the formations are so perfect and you have to hack your camera DSLR and lock the spray mode onto GPS time if you want to get perfect show center pictures every time.

#22 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-13 07:26 AM | Reply

#22 | POSTED BY SITZKRIEG

i'll take you at your word...i'm not qualified to comment

#23 | Posted by 1947steamer at 2019-02-13 07:33 AM | Reply

Have you seen this video of the Russian MiG-29? The fun beings about 1:45 in.

#10 | POSTED BY AMERICANUNITY AT 2019-02-12 09:30 PM | FLAG:

That's the Aerofly RC 8 flight simulator. It says so in the video notes. 3D aerobatics are really easy when there's no risk of crashing your $10k+ jet.

#24 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-13 08:13 AM | Reply

Have you seen this video of the Russian MiG-29?

From the way you are talking I think you are too dumb to realize those are RC aircraft. LOL

I'm pretty sure the actual MiGs don't have thrust vectoring

Yes.

Some Flankers (and the J-10TVC) are known for thrust vectoring .. never Migs.

#25 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-13 08:24 AM | Reply

I'm impressed by how many people think that simulator footage is real. That's a hell of a good sim.

#26 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-13 08:32 AM | Reply

Watch thrust vectoring" at 5:45....

www.youtube.com

Some people can't tell the difference between the above scale model plane (Pak JF-17/China FC-1) and the real deal. LOL

www.youtube.com

#27 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-13 09:57 AM | Reply

I'm impressed by how many people think that simulator footage is real.

LOL... I thought it was RC planes....

#28 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-13 10:07 AM | Reply

Either way I knew it wasn't real... so half a point to me there...

#29 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-13 10:08 AM | Reply

The flares give it away immediately. Probably the best scale jet model ever came out of Russia. It's a Yak-130 with a million dollars of Russian mob money behind it.

If you fast forward that first video to 7:10, in the bottom right you can see a counterfeit Aviation Designs Diamond. Too funny.

#30 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-13 10:08 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"#19 the USAF took 2 stars from the chief of AMC in 2009 for coercing female subordinates into sex."

I think with GOs it may be different. Gen Paul Tibbets, son of the Enola Gay Paul Tibbets, was recently forced out for being a bad officer. I think they did something like that to him, but it was on the condition of retirement. I don't recall ever hearing of a Major getting in trouble and being busted back to Captain. It happens a lot in the junior enlisted ranks though.

#31 | Posted by madbomber at 2019-02-13 08:06 PM | Reply

The Marines can demote officers?

This was almost 30 years ago...He was a recently minted O2 (I had just gotten my train tracks as well) and while he was a flying a desk he was back to wearing his butter bar, but maybe that was more a message from the CO than anything else.

Once he got his flight status back, he had his silver bar back, I just always thought he had been temporarily RiRd.

#32 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-02-13 08:32 PM | Reply

SITZKREIG

As you probably have, I've seen videos of Sukhoi 35s thrust vectoring at Russian air shows, so it didn't seem impossible. Yep, I should have read the notes and watched to the end. Still pretty damned cool.

#33 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2019-02-13 09:23 PM | Reply

Yeah, stupid air show tricks are cool.

As an aside, air show crowds are strange. Fly that routine with that $10,000+ model, it just does not engage the crowd. Have the best scale F4F wildcat in the world with a 250cc radial engine? You'll get admiration from the airboss, but the crowd doesn't pay that much attention. Fly a $150 flying witch or harry potter made out of foam, and the crowd loves it. Break out the flying lawnmower and people on their feet.

#34 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-02-14 08:01 AM | Reply

#34 | Posted by sitzkrieg

LOL BTW, that is one damned realistic flight simulator!

#35 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2019-02-14 08:13 AM | Reply

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