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

 

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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Celebrating the 4th Of July In Binghamton

 

Beautiful 6-Way Over Binghamton

Beautiful 6-Way Over Binghamton

For the first time in five years, the skies above the Greater Binghamton Airport in New York were once again filled with black and gold canopies, night pyrotechnics, smoke and the roaring of the engines from Team Aerodynamics and several other air show acts. The black demonstration team kicked off the weekends 4th of July air show activities by performing a mass night pyrotechnics jump from an altitude of 12,500 feet. Anxious spectators awaited the teams performance while bundled up in their winter jackets, hats, gloves and 4th of July attire. Members of the black demonstration team circled high overhead as the temperatures began to drop below freezing. Team leader, SFC Kevin Presgraves maneuvered our Army Strong C31 jump aircraft to a precise exit location for our first jumper and then gave the crossed arm signal of hot target as narrator PFC Jason Wenger awaited the thumbs up signal of “ Stand By”. The team made it’s 4th of July entrance by performing a mass formation above the airport and then streaked away from each other creating our bomb burst maneuver which looked like one big Golden Knight firework!

We were back at it the following morning as SGT Travis Downing jumped in our Nations Colors while being closely followed under canopy by our team photographer SSG Reese Pendleton . SSG Pendleton swiftly set his camera angles in order to capture SGT Downing flying the American Flag as he was circled by five of Team Aerodynamics pilots at an altitude of three thousand feet approximately1,000 feet away from him. SGT Downing narrated our second mass formation performance of the weekend as the rest of the team landed their canopies along the crowd line waving and giving high fives as they rolled up their canopies and began to walk back to our aircraft. Not only did we have the honor of opening the air show but we also closed out the weekends performances with another signature mass formation performance above a much warmer Binghamton airport than the night before. Once again every jumper landing along the crowd line allowing for hundreds of photo opportunities. SSG Shelby Bixler introduced her teammates as each of them proudly stepped forward to give a salute and closed out the show with “ In the future, may all of your days be prosperous and your Knights Golden”. Many thanks go out to premiere air show sponsor Mr. Jeff Gural (owner of Tioga Downs Casino) and thanked Dave Schultz Air Show for inviting the team back to be a part of the 4th of July celebration and air show. Black team prepares for their next performance with Dave Schultz Air Show in Reading, PA.

Blue Skies!

SSG Shelby Bixler, Photos by SSG Reese Pendleton

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