As the Gold Demonstration Team wrapped up week one at the Golden Knights Annual Certification Cycle in Homestead, Florida, we are proud of all that we have accomplished. Though we had to endure tough weather conditions, which included high winds and lots of fog, we managed to accumulate over 180 jumps for our entire Team.
This year we also have welcomed three new Teammates who we were excited to start training, and they have already integrated seamlessly into the fold. Using the undesirable weather conditions to our advantage, we forged ahead on our narration training, and held classes that introduced the new Teammates to various skills and tasks that will be imperative to know throughout both winter training and the 2015 Demonstration season.
Looking ahead, we are moving into week two focusing on more stack out maneuvers, and integrating flags into our canopy training. We are also excited to perform our first demonstration of 2015 at the 66th Annual PRCA Homestead Championship Rodeo on Saturday, January 24th. For those in the area this weekend, we would love to have you come check us out!
SSG Koch talks with passenger
Gold Team Leader SFC Thomas Melton leads FY-15 ACC
On December 16th, 2014, in a modest ceremony at Battalion Headquarters, Chief Warrant Officer Five Jeffrey Sopp was appointed as the first Warrant Officer in Golden Knight history to command the Team’s Aviation Detachment. Hailing from Pennsylvania and serving in the Air Force before joining the Army in 1990, Mr. Sopp could not have possibly envisioned all those years ago, that he would one day lead our team of highly skilled Aviators and Ground Crew in its mission to support the World-Class United States Army Parachute Team.
Perhaps our readers may doubt the Unit’s decision to place a Warrant Officer in charge, but those skeptics have obviously not met Jeffrey Sopp. Always the consummate quiet professional, he has already begun skillfully guiding Team Six through eleven solid weeks of intense and demanding training at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida in preparation for our most action-packed show season to date. Upon returning to Pope Army Airfield in March, both C31A Friendship Fokkers and all three deHavilland Twin Otter 400s will traverse the United States coast to coast in support of the Army’s recruiting mission.
Our Aviators and Ground Crew will journey together with our Jumpers as we build to achieve Golden Knight 2025 at the forefront of the sport of skydiving. Few could lead this charge other than Mr. Sopp. Join us in congratulating Mr. Sopp on this supreme career achievement and be ready to see Team Six thrive in the coming months as our parachuting experts continue to bring home their gold medals.
The Golden Knights Canopy Piloting Team competed October 9-11, 2014 for the 2nd Annual Sun Path Products Canopy Piloting Open in Raeford, NC. The event attracted 43 of the best Canopy Pilots in the world making the Competition a great train up for the upcoming World Championships.
The meet started on Thursday with two rounds of Zone Accuracy and two rounds of Speed events. A tail wind on the Zone Accuracy course made for very difficult runs for the competitors. After two rounds the event switched to the speed events. The wind was very light allowing for fast runs by the competitors.
Friday was the day for distance and the meet director ran three rounds of a new form of the distance event. For the new rounds the competitors had to navigate a carving course before starting their distance runs. The first round proved to be a big hit with the competitors and everyone agreed to finish out the event with two more rounds of the untraditional distance.
The competition wrapped up on Saturday, although the weather put the competitors on hold for most of the day waiting on the winds to diminish. The strong head winds and even stronger winds aloft made for a very challenging day.
One round of untraditional Zone Accuracy and one round of dragging water speed were the last events left. The head winds lead to a very high number of competitors not receiving scores.
SFC Joe Abeln who received a new parachute a day before the competition flew strong, while dialing in the new wing and finished 16th overall while SFC Jared Zell finished in 23rd overall. The Canopy Piloting team will be traveling to Zephyrhills, FL at the end of the month to represent the United States at the World Championships of Canopy Piloting.