It has been six weeks since the Golden Knights arrived in Homestead and the Teams are still going strong. All the jumpers are increasing their skills every day with much more still to learn. So far the demonstrators have practiced Stack Outs, Baton Passes, Mass Formations, Diamond tracks and have even performed two live shows. All maneuvers thus far have been preparing them for one of the toughest formations the demonstrators perform, the Diamond Formation. Unlike the other maneuvers that involve the jumpers flying together and holding on to one another, the Diamond Formation is completed without any physical contact. Four jumpers exit the aircraft separately and form a wide diamond in the sky with their smoke trails. The formation leader signals the jumpers at a certain altitude to close in and fly within inches of each other. The jumpers’ free fall relative work skills are then put to the test because they must maintain this close proximity to one another without holding on to each other for stability. This requires a great deal of concentration by all the jumpers as each of their movements effect the others flyers as well as the look of the formation to the public on the ground. This formation is used to end a show and give a salute to the audience when the jumpers separate by performing the Bomb Burst maneuver.
This is also the week the New Guys get a chance to practice narrating a full show and close out a performance with the end of show line up. The narrator is always the first one out of the aircraft but his responsibilities do not end with just talking on the microphone. He is responsible for gauging the wind conditions while in free fall as well as under canopy and judging whether the exit point was correct or not. After landing, but before moving to the microphone, the narrator needs to relay this information back to the pilots so that the rest of the Team can be informed and have a safe jump. This is all done with the help of the ground control personnel who is standing by the target calling up the important wind speeds to the crew in the air. The narrator position is the key to a successful show as he or she is the one to keep the audience entertained while describing what the jumpers are doing in the air. A full show is a total team effort as everyone has a responsibility for not only their maneuvers in the air but also to fly safely to the target and allow time for the next set of jumpers to perform without distraction. This is a very intense time for everyone because there is only one week left before the show season starts and the New Guys truly become demonstrators.