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Hidden Guardian’s of the Knights’

GaurdiansLike the tales of days of ole the secret hero’s identities were rarely known. The US Army Parachute has a hidden team of skilled tradesmen that protect the lives of passengers they escort throughout the land.

We have an elite team of proficient expert contract maintainers from Kay and Associates, who work continually to maintain and assure the teams, make the mission safely and without delay.

It is not rare to see two aircraft docked in the team hangar at Pope Army Airfield on any given day. This week alone, they masterfully have already completed a 125 hour inspection on the teams Freedom, 80263 Twin Otter making several component changes.

Aircraft Mechanic, George Navy a trained Army Soldier and now contractor for “Team Six” checked the thirteen fuel nozzles, inspected filters, combustion in the Pratt & Whitney engine in lieu of the old planes carburetors.

I asked where they learned about maintaining all of the team’s fleet of aircraft and Jason Drozd, another of our skilled aircraft mechanics showed me the license he received from the FAA from the Airframe and Power Plant (AMP) School which he attended for two years. He also explained various part of the engine to include the operation of a hi- capacity capacitor and how it received a voltage charge.

George invited us back to observe the Hot Section Inspection, which will be done in about forty more hours of flight for our Fokker 607. They routinely conduct that inspection on our C-31’s every 3,000 hours of flight, which makes me feel really comfortable.

This Team of experts has competently worked on our two C-31 Friendship Fokker’s since they arrived at the team in 1985. These aircraft have a life span limited to 90,000 landings, but both of our aircraft have in excess of 14,500 hours of total use thus far and over 15,000 landings.

Being I personally fly in the team aircraft along with demonstrators, competitors, Tandem Team and Centers of Influence it is so assuring to know just how safe we are due to the outstanding service and maintenance of these Our Kay and Associates Hero’s!

Freedom One of four of the  USAPT Twin Otters

Freedom One of four of the USAPT Twin Otters

13 Fuel Nozzles to be changed

13 Fuel Nozzles to be changed

George Navy pulling down cowlings to work on aircraft

George Navy pulling down cowlings to work on aircraft

Aircraft Mechanic Jason Drozd by Freedom

Aircraft Mechanic Jason Drozd by Freedom

Fuel Nozzles on Twin Otter Freedom

George Navy Checking Hartaell Prop During 125 Hour Inspection

Gear Check on C-31 Friendship Fokker

Gear Check on C-31 Friendship Fokker

 

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Thunder Over Utah

ThunderUtah Goldweb

The Gold Demonstration Team has had a busy weekend in the beautiful state of Utah. The team traveled to Saint George for the Thunder Over Utah Air Show. The unpredictable weather made it a little tricky for the jumpers and pilots participating in the show. Sadly, the team was unable to perform on Friday due to extremely high winds. This made the crowd even more eager for Saturday. Saturday morning started off beautifully with hardly any wind. The narrator made the first jump of the day, flying in the American Flag to the National Anthem. The crowd was very excited and the enthusiasm carried throughout the entire show.

Gold Team performed a full show, ending the performance with a mass, as the remaining jumpers built a formation in the sky. By the time the last jumpers exited the aircraft, the winds were howling. This made the jump a little tricky, but with the encouragement of the audience, all the jumpers made it safely to the ground in beautiful Golden Knight fashion. After the show was over, the team acquired some amazing kids to help pack up their parachutes for the next days jump.

Sunday also proved to be an outstanding day for jumping. Specialist Daniel Osorio got the show started for the afternoon by flying in the American Flag. He then made his way to Rob Reider, Airshow host extraordinaire, where he narrated his entire team performing a Mass maneuver. This was not just any mass, however, once the initial formation was built in the sky, the team went on to perform the Golden Knight Bomb Burst, a planned Cut-Away, and also linked up two parachutes in the sky for Canopy Relative Work. It was an exciting jump, as there was so much going on. The team performed flawlessly and the crowd once again gave each of the jumpers a warm reception upon landing.

The Knights also had the privilege of jumping two tandem passengers at the Airshow. SFC Joe Abeln and SSG Jon Lopez from the Tandem Team accompanied Gold Team as they jumped from 11, 500 feet to give these great passengers a ride of a lifetime.

Thunder Over Utah is a fun show with a great gathering of spectators and outstanding line up of performers. The team is looking forward to coming back to this beautiful state. Until then, Blue Skies!
SSG Gallagher, photos by SSG Trey Martin.

Black Team Returns to Reading, Pa

ReadingCollage 72714BKGround attractions at the Reading Aerofest included a classic car show, open to pre-1970 vehicles, aircraft displays, and many anxious spectators awaiting the Golden Knight’s opening performance for the weekend. The Golden Knight’s were invited back to the Reading Aerofest that was last sponsored back in 1998 which was also the last time the team made it’s appearance there.

We had the honor of welcoming several media representatives on board our C31 Friendship aircraft this weekend for an up close and personal tour of the skies above Reading Regional Airport. Each of them layered for the temperature change on the climb to altitude and securely seated right next to both jump doors. We truly get a sense of the impressions made on the American public when talking with our media passengers during the climb to 12,500 feet. Each of them commenting on the composure, professionalism, and bravery of each jumper as they prepare to exit the Golden Knight C31 for their designated maneuver.

The Black demonstration team performed five shows during the weekend to include three mass performances and two full shows. The team quickly exits the aircraft for our mass formation as each one of us chases the jumper in front using both jump doors. We then fly our bodies together using our hands, arms legs and shoulders as flight controls. Once we are all linked together the formation continues to fly at approximately 120 miles per hour, while SSG Reese Pendleton circles us setting up the best angles for photos and video. The crowd favorite is when we separate prior to opening our parachutes creating the signature bomb burst affect with our smoke trails!

A special thanks to the Reading Recruiting Station for their professionalism and understanding of our mission in connecting the US Army to the American public! And as always thank you to Dave Schultz Air Show and the community of Reading, Pa for inviting us back.

SSG Shelby Bixer, photos by SSG Reese Pendleton

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