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F-35s arrive for Airfest with Demo Team’s first female commander

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Major Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, F-35A Demonstration Team Commander and Pilot

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Several of the military's newest generation of fighter jet arrived in La Crosse on Thursday morning for the Deke Slayton Airfest.

The F-35A Lightning II will be at the Airfest on June 12 and 13. The newest fighter jet features differences from the F-22, a fighter jet in the same generation. The F-35 features a better air-to-ground arsenal and newer avionics. Major Kristin "BEO" Wolfe has experience with both.

Wolfe is the F-35 Demo Team's first female commander. She has over 800 flight hours logged on the F-22 and F-35 spanning four and a half years of personal operation.

"I love that they're so similar. It made it easy to transition for me," said Wolfe.

Check out more of our Airfest coverage here.

Additionally, Wolfe reflected on what it means to be part of the selected few to showcase the new jet.

"It's a unique experience getting to fly for the Demo Team and take this jet on the road and perform for people who may never have seen this airplane fly," said Wolfe, "It's pretty cool to go to different cities, different states to share the love of aviation and fighter jets with people."

Airfest-goers will see limited combat capabilities of the F-35s with the event not set in a tactical environment. The performance features high-speed and low-speed passes, as well as twelve to thirteen maneuvers. Wolfe says crowd-favorite aileron rolls will be performed.

Additional information about the Deke Slayton Airfest can be found on it's website.

Sam Dunnum

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