The US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team, commonly known as Viper Demo, unveiled a stunning new paint scheme for their primary demonstration jet today at their home base of Shaw AFB in South Carolina.
The jet is named “Venom” and it features black snake scales across its back and up the tail. The tailcode and markings are highlighted in the same yellow that the team uses for its logo.
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 !”
This is the second special demonstration team paint scheme to debut in the last year.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team has been flying their own special paint scheme since the end of last season. The green and gray scheme is a tribute to the WWIII heritage of the unit and honors P-51 Mustang ace Col. Henry Brown.
Unfortunately, the scheme will have to be admired from afar as airshows are almost totally shut down through the end of June due to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. Some events are canceling even out to October.
For now, the teams are staying ready by practicing at home and even contributing to the Operation America Strong flyover campaign around the country. Hopefully, we’ll get to see the jet in the air soon!