Capt. Zoe Kotnik Bio, Wiki, Age, Instagram, Education, F-16 Viper Demo Team, Promotion and Demotion
Captain Kotnik was removed from F-16 Viper Demonstration team command two weeks after her promotion
Zoe Kotnik Bio, Wiki
Zoe Kotnik was born in 1988. She is the first woman to head the F-16 Viper demonstration team. Kotnik was given the head command on January 29th, 2019 and relieved of her command two weeks later, on February 12th, 2018 to a Facebook post in the F-16 Viper Demo Team. The statement from Col. Derek O’Malley of the 20th Fighter Wing said that Captain Kotnik was removed because Col. O’Malley had “lost confidence in her ability to lead the team.”
She is also the Air Force's first female single-ship tactical demonstration pilot! pic.twitter.com/ol67541aRe
— F-16 Viper Demo Team (@ViperDemoTeam) January 29, 2019
Zoe Kotnik Age
Kotnik was born in 1988, She is 30 years old as of 2019.
Zoe Kotnik Education
- 2011 Bachelor of Science, Economics, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
- 2015 Fighter Electronic Combat Officer’s Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
- 2016 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
Zoe Kotnik Background Information
Capt Kotnik was raised in the small town of Poynette, Wisconsin. She was born into a family of aviators and as such, developed an early passion for flight and made it her life’s goal to become a military aviator. Upon graduating from Poynette High School in 2007, she attended Basic Cadet Training at the United States Air Force Academy. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and commissioned in May 2011. Upon graduation from the Air Force Academy, she was selected for undergraduate pilot training and flew the T-6B Texan II and the T-38C Talon. After earning her wings in October 2013, Capt Kotnik moved on to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and learned to fly the F-16C Fighting Falcon.
Kotnik served her first operational assignment as a one-year remote tour assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base in the Republic of Korea. As a wingman in the 35th Fighter Squadron, she held the position of Electronic Combat Pilot and flew missions in the support and defense of the Republic of Korea.
She was assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C, after completing her tour, where she flew missions in support of Operation Noble Eagle and served as an Instructor Pilot in the 55th Fighter Squadron to train new F-16 wingmen as combat mission ready fighter pilots.
While assigned to the 20th FW, Kotnik was selected to be the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Commander and Pilot on February 29th, 2019. She was an operational, combat-ready fighter pilot with over 1000 hours in military aircraft. Kotnik was unfortunately relieved her captaincy position on February, 12th 2019 as mentions earlier.
Zoe Kotnik Promotion and Demotion
Zoe Kotnik was given the head commander of V-16 position on 29th January 2019 and demoted on February 11th, 2019. In a statement following her demotion, the colonel said, “As good people, like Capt. Kotnik makes 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.” Col. O’Malley referred to this being a “difficult time for Capt. Kotnik, but she’s surrounded by wingmen that will help her every step of the way.” The statement concludes with the colonel saying that Major John “Rain” Waters will be restored to lead the team.
The statement did not elaborate on the reason for Kotnik’s removal. According to Kotnik’s official Air Force profile, she goes by the call sign “SiS.” That biography says that Kotnik graduated in 2011 from the Air Force Academy, where Kotnik studied science and economics. Kotnik earned her wings in 2013. From February 2015 and 2016, Kotnik was deployed to Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. On January 29th, 2019 the Viper Demonstration Team announced Kotnik had been named as the new commander in a Marvel Comics style video. Kotnik’s first show as commander was slated to be at Naval Air Station Key West in Florida in March.
The colonel went on to say, “As good people, like Capt. Kotnik makes 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.” Col. O’Malley referred to this being a “difficult time for Capt. Kotnik, but she’s surrounded by wingmen that will help her every step of the way.” The statement concludes with the colonel saying that Major John “Rain” Waters will be restored to lead the team.
Zoe Kotnik Air Force Classes
Kotnik said in an interview that she got her callsign thanks to being the only female in many of her Air Force classes. In the classes, many referred her as the “little sister.” In the same interview, Kotnik said that it was when she saw the female pilot of a NASA T-38 Talon supersonic jet that she knew she wanted to be a pilot. Kotnik said, “It was at that moment that I realized, “Oh my God, that’s exactly what I can do. And it was that alone, having that visual to realize it was something I could do as well.” Kotnik added, “I know firsthand how impactful airshows can be and what a difference it makes to young people to see just one example of what they too can do. I hope to be a source of inspiration and motivation they can draw from.”
Zoe Kotnik Family
Kotnik uncle was the famed acrobatic pilot Charlie Hillard. Hillard, who was known as a member of the Eagles Aerobatic Team, was killed in a tragic accident in Lakeland, Florida. His Hawker Sea Fury plane flipped over as he came into land at the Sun ‘n Fly event. Hillard was the first American to win the World Aerobatic Championships in 1972. Stripes.com reports that Kotnik’s mother is also a private pilot.
Zoe Kotnik Instagram
As news of her removal became public, Kotnik deleted her Instagram page. Her last visible post showed her goofing around with Major John “Rain” Waters’ son. Kotnik wrote in the caption, “Sorry @rainwaters27, your family is coming with me on the road this year… 😜 Just kidding… but seriously. This was too cute not to share.” On her Instagram bio, Kotnik wrote, “Chick Fighter Pilot-Zoomie ‘11-Girly Girl-Traveler-Adventurer-Thrill Seeker-Foodie.Life.Family.Flying.Outdoors. 🇺🇸Red, White, Blue🇺🇸.” In September 2010, Kotnik was part of The Wings of Blue Air Force Parachute Demonstration Team who won the U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships.
Zoe Kotnik ASSIGNMENTS
- August 2011-March 2013, Student Pilot, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla.
- March 2013-October 2013, Student Pilot, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance AFB, Okla.
- December 2013-January 2014, Pilot, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, Randolph AFB, TX
- . February 2014-January 2015, Pilot, F-16 Basic Course, Luke AFB, Ariz.
- . February 2015-February 2016, F-16 Pilot, Activity Security Manager, 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea
- April 2015-July 2018, F-16 Pilot, Chief of Training, 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C.
- . January 2019-Present, F-16 Pilot, Viper Demonstration Team Commander, Shaw AFB, S.C.