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US Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Unveiled 50th Anniversary Paint Scheme

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US Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Unveiled 50th Anniversary Paint Scheme

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US Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Unveiled 50th Anniversary Paint Scheme
US Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Unveiled 50th Anniversary Paint Scheme

The U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team unveiled a 50th anniversary paint scheme honoring the original aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., May 15 2024. The red, white and blue paint scheme was the original livery worn by the YF-16 prototype first flown in 1974. The team worked alongside the 412th Test Wing to complete the paint scheme in less than 8 weeks, a task that would usually take approximately three months. Tony Accurso, 416th Flight Test Squadron logistics manager, Air Force veteran and director for the Edwards AFB F-16 50th Anniversary event, acted as a liaison between the team and the 412th TW. He participated in the paint project personally as a historical advisor, his enthusiasm for the F-16 Fighting Falcon and vast knowledge of the YF-16 prototype bringing the design to life.

“When I was hired to be the commander and pilot in the summer of last year, I had made it known that I hoped to find a way to get our airplane painted in the prototype scheme to take America back to the beginning of the story that started 50 years ago. The importance of this YF-16 paint scheme is celebrating 50 years of the F-16 Viper. Everyone at Edwards has a big sense of pride for not only supporting the Viper Demo Team but also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the F-16 which began right here at Edwards in 1974. The only way that we were able to get started was with the support of the leadership at the 20th Fighter Wing, the home of the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, who believed in the importance of this project and supported the vision that we had in mind,” said Capt. Taylor “FEMA” Hiester, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Carter Pals, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team dedicated crew chief, performs a show recovery at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., May 13, 2024. In 2024, the team will represent Air Combat Command and the Air Force at 25 shows in four countries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Meghan Hutton)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Carter Pals, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team dedicated crew chief, performs a show recovery at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., May 13, 2024. In 2024, the team will represent Air Combat Command and the Air Force at 25 shows in four countries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Meghan Hutton)

The YF-16 prototype first flew accidentally on Jan. 20, 1974 after a mechanical mishap during a high speed taxi test. Phil Oestricher, the YF-16 test pilot, decided to take off and fly for six minutes to avoid crashing the jet. The official 90-minute maiden flight was then conducted Feb. 2, 1974. The F-16 Viper Demonstration Team was combined from the Viper East and West teams in 2015. The team decided to make slight changes to differentiate the new aircraft, including swapping out the term “General Dynamics” for “20th Fighter Wing” and adding “Viper Demo” to the tip of the vertical stabilizer. In 2024, the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team will represent Air Combat Command and the Air Force at 25 shows in four countries, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team at Shaw AFB, S.C., performs precision aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the unique capabilities of one of the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighters, the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The team also flies in Air Force Heritage Flight formations, exhibiting the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft. The team’s F-16CM Fighting Falcon, affectionately known as the “Viper,” is a single-seat, multi-role fighter with the ability to switch between an air-to-ground and an air-to-air role at the touch of a button. With its lightweight frame and powerful General Electric engine generating 31,000 pounds of thrust, the F-16 can fly at speeds in excess of Mach 2.

US Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Unveiled 50th Anniversary Paint Scheme
The F-16 Viper Demonstration Team aircraft sits on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., May 9, 2024. The aircraft was towed to Rogers Dry Lake, a historic piece of land where the United States’ notable aeronautical achievements have taken place, including the testing of experimental military aircraft, the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager, and landings of the Space Shuttle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Meghan Hutton)

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