Close to home shows always give the Golden Knights an opportunity to make a huge impact on the local community. This weekend, Black Team traveled the very short trip to Winston-Salem, NC. This year’s airshow expected to bring over 45,000 airshow fans from the surrounding area to the Smith-Reynolds Airport. We performed one media jump into the airfield on Friday, giving the jumpers a sneak peak at the landing area.
Saturday and Sunday, the Golden Knights performed two parachute demonstrations. For the first jump of the day, Black Team performed a mass formation followed by a show-line spread. This gives the audience an up close and personal look at the jumpers as well as parachutes in flight. Each jumper is assigned a section of the crowd line to land.
As the team separates from the free fall formation, they open their parachutes and remain on level with each other, under canopy. They stay in this position until they land. After the jumpers land, each Golden Knight makes his way towards show center, walking along the audience. They use this time, shaking hands, high fiving, and even stopping for the occasional photo. A show-line spread is definitely one of the Golden Knights favorite performances because we, unlike many other airshow acts, are interacting with the fans immediately following our performance!
This is the second time the Gold Demonstration Team has visited Bellevue for a show and both times the team has encountered adverse weather. Upon arriving the team was briefed on what their schedule was for the Defenders of Freedom Open House Air Show held on Offutt Air Force Base and along with the schedule came a warning of possible changes to the planned schedule due to the weather forecast. As always the Gold Team stands ready to adjust to any situation that might arise and did so effortlessly. On Friday the team was set to perform a jump for the media day before the air show but had to adjust their mass formation because of some lingering clouds half way up to altitude. Even though it is difficult for the people on the ground to see the formation in free fall it is still important for the jump to go as planned so the Gold Team Leader J.D. Berentis made a last minute adjustment to the planned formation and the team pulled it off successfully.
After the jump the team members had a chance to visit with some of the children from the Make A Wish Foundation and Soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Project. Both organizations had a great turnout and everyone present had a front row seat to watch the Golden Knights land. As the team members entered the chalet, children lined up to meet the jumpers they just saw land and it is always a treat for the team to be greeted so many enthusiastic kids. The team also wondered around to all the tables in the area to make sure the children that could not get in line were not missing out on meeting the team. The soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Project also gave a heartfelt welcome to the team and some were quoted in saying that “The jump was the coolest thing they had seen in years” and “You all are crazy for jumping that hi”.
Saturday the team along with the other acts were put on standby because of the low ceiling and the predicted bad weather that was supposed to roll in later on. Before any on the performers took off the decision was made to cancel the show for that day and put it off till Sunday. On Sunday Gold Team again was faced with a cloudy sky and few holes to jump through. The whole airshow was pushed back on their timelines forcing everyone to modify their performances but the show must go on since the crowd was already over 100,000 people. The team took off with hopes of finding a gap in the clouds large enough to put out some jumpers but no such luck so the team landed with the plane and made their way over to the recruiting booth right next to show center. Even though the team did not make the first jump the people were happy to see the jumpers and wanted to get their autographs. The second jump was modified as well due to the low clouds and shortened timeline so as a trusty standby to any planned jump world famous Golden Knight Stack Out became the highlight of the day and successfully closed out the air show. To the delight of the crowd the team returned to the Recruiting Booth to sign more autographs and take photos with the audience.
The Chicago Air and Water Fest is, by far, the largest single audience that the Golden Knights perform for each year. This year, a record 2 million spectators crowded the beaches and city streets of Chicago, in hopes to get a glance of their favorite airshow performers. Black Team was honored to perform five parachute demonstrations this weekend for the city of Chicago.
One of the more unique things about this airshow is that we were able to provide four tandem parachute jumps to four lucky people during the performances. So, not only did they get the experience of a lifetime, but they also got to experience what it is like as a Golden Knight, performing parachute demonstrations in front of over two million fans! Pictured below is Derrick Young, a reporter/anchor for CBS 2 Chicago, just before his jump.
This weekend also gave Black team a chance to interact and perform with the United States Navy Parachute Team, The Leapfrogs. As both the Golden Knights and the Leapfrogs perform parachute demonstrations across the country, we sometimes find ourselves crossing paths at nearly a half dozen air shows per year. We enjoyed our time with, and would like to thank the Leapfrogs! Also, as expected, we thank City of Chicago for having us back time and time again. We are looking forward to the Chicago Air and Water Fest 2013!
To View the tandem of Mr Mark Day, check out our Youtube channel: