TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - This weekend is the 15th annual Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake Air Show. The exciting air demonstrations have drawn a crowd for years, but this weekend Tyler will see a new pilot in their skies.
“This year’s demonstration for the first time in air force history will be flown by a girl,” said Randy W. Ball, one of the founders of this event and performers this weekend.
Kristen “BEO” Wolfe has been flying in the United States Air Force for nearly a decade, but she was no stranger to the Air Force.
“I grew up a military brat and was around the Air Force my entire life because my dad was a AF pilot. Honestly in college I decided I didn’t want to pursue engineering, fell into the ROTC world and eventually applied for a pilot slot,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe transitioned from flying F-22A Raptors to the F-35 in 2017. Wolfe has been a part of her team for three years but this year she became the first Air Force woman to lead an F-35 demonstration team. Wolfe explains how for some time she was the only woman in her group and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that more joined the F-35 team.
“Our numbers i think continue to increase and you’ve got awesome general aviation groups like Women in Aviation that make it known especially to young women that you can be a pilot whether that’s on the civilian route or military route and we see our numbers increase which is great not being the only female in a squadron these days,” said Wolfe.
This is Wolfe’s first public demonstration of the season but it’s far from the last. She intends to lead her team into 2021. You can go to the air show tomorrow and Saturday at 2 P.M. to see Wolfe and other pilots fly around Tyler to salute our veterans and first responders.