The crowds at air shows are great, but sometimes it’s nice to get down to basics and train with just the grass below and the blue sky above. Black Team got away from the spotlight today and completed eight jumps at the Golden Knights’ training drop zone in Laurinburg, NC.
The seasons are changing in NC, and the humid, 90 plus days are giving way to crisp mornings, warm breezy afternoons, and beautiful sunsets. The first four jumps were from 3000 feet, and even at the lower altitudes there was a bite in the air. By the time the Team began climbing to full altitude (12,500 feet), it had warmed up a little and was chilly but pleasant.
The three jumps from full altitude consisted of two-point formations, in which the six jumpers come together to form one pattern, then change positions to complete a different pattern. The jumps are carefully rehearsed on the ground and each jumper knows the exact moves to make during the dive.
The day was fast-paced and mostly serious, as training days usually are, but the day ended on an exciting and fun note. The Team ran an emergency bail-out drill from the aircraft, instantly putting everyone in high gear.
The GK aircraft are equipped with buzzer alarms, so the pilots can alert the jumpers when there is an emergency on the aircraft. One long, continuous buzzer indicates that there is an emergency which requires all jumpers to immediately exit the plane by the most direct route possible. Only the Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader know when these drills are to be performed, so that the jumpers can practice reacting to an actual surprise.
Although an emergency bail-out procedure is a very serious matter, it doesn’t make it less exciting…and makes for some good laughs on the ground once it’s clear that all jumpers are safe on the ground and a serious debrief has been conducted. Just another step to make sure every single jumper is ready for any situation the job might throw at them.
In TRUE Black Team style, three of the jumpers came together to form a canopy relative work three-stack, even after the bail-out!