Black Team visits western Pennsylvania for the Latrobe Air Show! Latrobe hosts their second air show, following their unwanted stop, with the September 11th attacks. Along with the Blue Angels, Rob Holland, Sean Tucker and other acts, Black Team was impressed with the incredible outcome of Saturday’s turnout. Blue Skies prompted the Team to climb to our full jump altitude of 12,500 feet and put on a respectable show!
Opening the show, was SGT David Echeverry, flying the American flag. He also had the distinct pleasure of being circled by Rob Holland and Jack Knutzson. After landing in front of tens of thousands, already present, he began to narrate the first of Black Team’s two Saturday performances.
Exiting at 12,500 feet, Black Team performed two mass formations, with canopy relative work, smoke, high performance parachutes, and precision accuracy. The morning’s jump allowed the jumpers to land all across the show line and demonstrate an Airborne landing, up close and personal, to the American Public attending the show. In the Afternoon, Black Team was back at it.
Light winds set the jumpers up for what we like to call, “Dead Center Winds.” This is when we know the conditions are ripe for tip-toe, precision accuracy and optimal landing performance. While again providing a wide variety of performances with the second mass jump, we were thrilled to also conduct our ground performance and line-up.
CW5 Jeff Sopp and CW4 Jeff Dillon, along with our flight engineer, SGT Sean Holland, performed the C-31 Fly-by, as we introduced the last jumper in the line-up. Flying at only 100 feet off the deck the nearly 100,000 spectators loved the addition to the parachute display.
As our conclusion to Saturday’s events, we were honored to present our 14 inch mahogony baton, which was flown in free fall, to a very distinguished member of the audience. Mr. Arnold Palmer was the proud recipient. As a local icon to the community, the airfield, local roads, as well as hotels are proudly named after him! He was extatic to meet the Team and shared an open invitation and requested Black Team’s company, Sunday Evening.
The local Army recruiters were swamped with hundreds of patrons and delayed entry program “Future Soldiers.” They swarmed the Golden Knights as we allowed them to help us pack our parachutes. We were thrilled to take pictures with the team, and pass out hundreds of autographed brochures. Hopefully, one of these young Americans sees fit to follow in the Team’s footsteps and support our American armed forces. Many of us were in the exact same position at a young age, when we had the honor of receiving the exact same gift; an autographed Golden Knight poster.