U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, certified the new F-22 Demonstration Team Pilot on Dec. 9, 2022, ahead of the 2023 air show season.
Capt. Samuel “RaZZ” Larson will be replacing Maj. Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson as the commander and pilot of the F-22 Demonstration Team.
Larson is an experienced fighter pilot having accumulated over 750 flying hours in aircrafts such as the T-6 Texan, T-38 Talon, and F-22 Raptor since he began his Air Force career in 2015.
“I’m humbled to have the opportunity to join this incredible team. The mentorship I received from Air Force demo pilots and maintainers, along with the airshows I would attend in my home state of Iowa, inspired me to serve my country as a fighter pilot,” Larson said. “Our goal is to now pay that forward and inspire others. We have an outstanding team assembled for the 2023 airshow season and it is a privilege to work with such a remarkable group of maintainers and specialists to showcase this aircraft to the world.”
As the F-22 Demonstration Team commander and pilot, Larson will be responsible for leading the team by showcasing the unmatched manoeuvrability of the Air Force’s fifth-generation air dominance stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor.
The team will also be highlighting the history of the Air Force’s service through heritage formation flights and interacting with local communities through outreach events as they perform throughout the season.
The F-22 Demonstration Team consists of 12 enlisted members, who are responsible for maintaining the Raptor and ensuring safety standards are adhered to prior to aerial events.
“The 2023 Raptor Demo Team couldn’t be more excited about this upcoming season,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. John Lugo, F-22 Demo Team superintendent. “Our team has been working hard putting in the hours to be able to showcase the F-22’s capability. We are humbled and honoured to represent the individuals, past and present, who helped build this team into what it is today.”
For more information on the F-22 Demonstration Team, visit their website at https://www.jble.af.mil/About-Us/Units/Langley-AFB/F-22-Demo-Team/.