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D-Day Remembrance

 

SFC Josh Coleman Baton Presentation

SFC Josh Coleman Baton Presentation

In June of 1942 over 24,000 allied troops gathered at grassy fields in England to perform a task that has become a common sight at FT Bragg, NC. The men gathered their equipment, donned their parachutes, and took off into the night sky. Hours later, more than 160,000 troops stormed the Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches that spanned 50 miles of Normandy coastline.

June 6th, 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of the prolific invasion that launched American Forces into Occupied France. At Bedford, VA over 6,000 veterans, family members and supporters gathered at the National D-Day Memorial to commemorate the historic event. Laid out over a sprawling amphitheater, the memorial showcased a reenactment of the landing cast in stone and iron, complete with a beachhead made with sand from Normandy.

On Friday, members of the Golden Knights 8-Way competition section were honored to perform an airdrop over the monument in front of the courageous men who filled it’s seats. At exactly 11:30 AM SFC Kurt Isenbarger gave the ‘standby’  signal and seven paratroopers exited our UV-18 Twin Otter to pay homage to the men and women who paved the road to Berlin. Shortly after the jump, SFC Sean Sweeney and SFC Josh Coleman presented two mahogany batons, which were flown in with the jumpers to 1LT John Kessler; the guest of honor at Friday’s memorial.

The legacy of men like 1LT Kessler and the countless veterans that made the ultimate sacrifice on the shores of Normandy are the reason why all Soldiers hold themselves to such impeccable standards. The actions of allied troops across both European and Pacific Theaters established a measure of toughness, devotion to duty, and honor that stands as a model for the men and women of today’s Armed Forces that will surely carry into the future.

SFC Drew Star

 

Westmoreland County Airshow

American Flag

SPC Daniel Osario jumping in the American Flag

 

 

The Gold Demonstration Team had a short flight this weekend to Latrobe, PA. We left early Friday morning  and after arriving set up for our practice jump. The practice mass formation went well to set things rolling for the weekend.

Saturday morning  started with out a cloud in the sky. SPC Daniel Osorio started the air show off by flying in the national colors while being circled by Matt Chapman. SFC Brian Karst and SGT Blake Gaynor closed out the morning show by performing a breath taking down plane. After landing we headed over to the Army recruiting booth to pack our parachutes with the help of the Latrobe community. Once everything was reset the team headed back up to perform our full show. All maneuvers were performed and we closed out the show just prior to the Blue Angels starting their performance.

The forecast for Sunday was not as promising. The team took the short drive to the airport and watched as the clouds started to form. The plane took off as scheduled and we prepared for the morning jump. However, once we were at our exit altitude the rain started and forced us to land. After landing we prepared for the afternoon show in hopes that the rain would clear.

Take off went as scheduled and we were prepared with multiple options in case we had to adjust our exit altitudes due to clouds. The Gold team leader, SFC Dustin Peregren, made the call and the narrator stepped out right on schedule. Minutes after the narrator landed heavy rain started, so the remaining team members circled the target awaiting a break. The rain lifted and the team leader gave us a thumbs up. Instead of the full show, we adjusted to the weather and launched a mass formation. Once the team was safely on the ground SSG Brandon Parra closed out the weekend.

We would like to thank the Latrobe community for allowing the team to perform. Next year we hope for blue skies through out the entire weekend.

SSG Jon Clevenger—

Photos By Theriom Rasputin

 

Maintenance Series Part Two

It’s been a busy two weeks with no rest in sight for the maintainers and aircrews of Team Six.  The Fokker Ambassador and Excalibur performed simultaneous shows supporting Black and Gold demonstration teams at Jones Beach, NY, Cape Girardeau, MO. and Salute to Veterans, Columbia, Mo.  Black Team and the supporting aircrew had the opportunity to perform in front of record crowds at Jones Beach, while Gold team wowed audiences in MO and jumped into a parade for Memorial Day.

As part two of our three part maintenance series, I’d like to share with our fans our process of identifying maintenance faults on aircraft while on the road and what our skilled mechanics do to keep our fleet in a high level of readiness as the air show season rolls along.

The first part of every successful flight is a thorough check of the weather, aircraft records, weight of our passengers, and all other items deemed necessary to ensure the flight is completed in a safe and economical manner.

During the trip to Jones Beach, NY, the Fokker “Ambassador” developed a fuel seep that was identified by a very small amount of fuel on the underside of one of Ambassador’s wings.  After checking maintenance logs and procedures, the crew of Ambassador determined that the mission could still be conducted and the maintenance was deferred until Ambassador returned to Pope Army Air Field.

The C-31 has what is commonly known as a “Wet Wing”.  Aircraft generally carry fuel in the wings and do this by utilizing either a rubber bladder consisting of several interconnected cells, or in the case of the Ambassador, a wet wing which has no internal containment system to hold all 9200lbs of fuel; that is to say, when fuel is loaded onto the C-31, it is contained only by the metal skin of the aircraft.  As one can imagine, wet wings can develop leaks if inspection and access panels are not properly sealed or if a seal breaks down over time under normal use.

Repairing a leak in the wet wing of Ambassador turned out to be a time consuming process that could only be entrusted to our maintenance partners of Kay and Associates.  The first step in repairing our leak was to defuel the aircraft.  This is a time consuming process requiring a fuel truck to reverse its pumps and empty out all 1300 gallons of fuel.  The pictures below show the required removal,repair, and reinstallation of the access panels that are located in the underside of each wing.

The underside of the left wing of the  Ambassador.  Notice three wet bay access panels removed for servicing.

The underside of the left wing of the Ambassador. Notice three wet bay access panels removed for servicing.

Jimmie Carrier installs rubber seals to one of the wet bay access panels.  This is a time consuming task that requires the highest attention to detail.

Jimmie Carrier installs rubber seals to one of the wet bay access panels. This is a time consuming task that requires the highest attention to detail.

This picture shows one of the fuel inspection panels with a portion of the fuel measuring system that transmits fuel levels to the cockpit.

This picture shows one of the fuel inspection panels with a portion of the fuel measuring system that transmits fuel levels to the cockpit.

Michael Moore removes an inspection panel under the wing.

Michael Moore removes an inspection panel under the wing.

 

 

 

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