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Labor Day at Cleveland National Air Show

_MG_4279The Black Demonstration team spent Labor Day weekend performing over a

reported 300,000 spectators during the Cleveland National Air Show. We were

not graced with favorable weather conditions throughout the weekend, but the

team stayed composed and flexible with any last minute changes made in order

to safely exit our C31 and put on a great performance!

We were scheduled to perform six shows throughout the weekend to include

three mass formation performances in addition to three full shows. One of

our full show performances was cancelled due to the winds being out of our

safety limits. However, our highly skilled pilots Mr. Al Aber and CW4 Josh

Howe landed our C31 in front of show center as the rest of the team stepped

off the plane wearing our maroon berets in preparation for a team lineup.

Our narrator SSG David Echeverry informed the crowd that we were not able to

safely perform our show that afternoon, but he was still honored to have the

opportunity to introduce his teammates that would have been performing their

assigned maneuvers.

We wrapped up the weekend having performed three mass shows and two low

shows. Along with our performances last weekend our tandem team teammates

SSG Rich Sloan and SSG Jon Lopez performed three tandem jumps to Q104 radio

personality Carley McChord, Dawn Kendrick from Channel 19 Cleveland, and Mr.

Raymond Brown President of the Cleveland National Air Show.

Black Team is preparing for their show into the Georgia Southern University

Football game this weekend.

Blue Skies!  SSG Shelby Bixler

Cleveland National Air Show 2014

Cleveland National Air Show 2014

SGT Travis Downing exiting C-31

SGT Travis Downing exiting C-31

SSG Shelby Bixler mentoring  little ladies to join the Army

SSG Shelby Bixler mentoring little ladies to join the Army

Black Team Line Up

Black Team Line Up

Thunder Over Santa Maria

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Last weekend our team traveled to the west coast and arrived in Santa Maria, CA for the 26th Annual Thunder Over the Valley Air Show. The Santa Maria community spent the past nine years requesting the presence of the US Army Golden Knights for their air show lineup.

We performed four shows above the Santa Maria Public Airport including two full shows, one mass formation and a stack out (low show performance) due to low visibility. The air show sponsors as well as the local community welcomed us by hosting three socials throughout the weekend located at the Santa Maria Museum of Flight. We all had the opportunity to meet with the air show sponsors, other air show performers, and local community officials to include Mayor Alice Patino.

The community of Santa Maria is very supportive of our Military as we were presented with the Patriot Freedom Key, which we will proudly hang in our team room. We had the honor of meeting a very special guest during our last social, a 92-year-old Santa Maria woman, Lieutenant Marian Marrinan USAAF (United States Army Airforce), who proudly represented our Nation during World War II as a nurse and spoke of her experiences during the first week of Normandy. 1LT Marrinan had an opportunity to meet the team during the social and then proudly stood close to show center during the teams last performance for the weekend, which included a baton pass, diamond track, and mass formation.

We were then individually introduced by our narrator SPC Luke Olk in front of approximately eight thousand spectators who were anxiously waiting for us to make our way to the Army Strong stage for a meet and greet.

The signature of our performances will continue to be the ability we have to interact with the American Public, they assist us with repacking our parachutes, sharing our Army stories, and signing autographs.

This was our last show with the highly motivated Army Strong stage crew (staffed by the Army Marketing and Research Group) and we hope we have the opportunity to reach out to the American public with them during future air shows and demonstrations. The Army Strong stage has become a hit with their music selection, high energy, and local recruiters assisting in connecting today’s Army with the American public. These lasting impressions may one day inspire a young man or woman to become the next US Army Golden Knight! Black team will be performing in Cleveland, Ohio this Labor Day weekend.

Blue Skies!   SDG Bixler, Photos by Jerry Morrison


World Champion Golden Knight’s 8-Way Team

8wayCZech_Web0063It was a chilly Monday morning at the 2014 World Parachuting Championships in the Czech Republic. The 8-Way Formation Skydiving Team has completed their eighth and final practice jump out of the L-410 Turbolet aircraft. The L-410 is extremely different than the UV-18 Twin Otter aircraft that the Golden Knights primarily train from. The turbojet door is narrower and taller than the Golden Knights Twin Otter’s door. It’s also harder for us to maintain our grips on one another in the door and the exits don’t come off as clean as exits from the Otter. But after several practice jumps we feel confident enough moving forward. Tonight is the opening ceremonies and the draw. The official competition starts first thing Tuesday morning. The weather forecast is not looking very promising for the next couple of days. They are calling for a high chance of rain but all the teams are staying optimistic and hoping for favorable weather conditions.

8wplaneczechWEB_0114 (1)8wdonutczWEB_0129

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