The Joint Service Open House Airshow held at Andrews Air Force Base is one of the highest visibility airshows of the season. There was several very impressive demonstration which included the Air Force F-22 Raptor, Stealth Bomber, Red Bull Air Force and of course the world famous Golden Knights. For all three days of the air show the Gold Demonstration Team accompanied by SFC Aaron Figel, SSG Jared Zell, SSG Reese Pendleton and SGT Jeshua Stahler performed spectacularly for the citizens of Maryland. There were a few bumps in the road along the way as the weather did not cooperate the whole time. For Friday and Saturdays shows the skies were blue allowing for the team to reach maximum altitude with no problem showing the audience some of the many formations possible to achieve while in free fall. Sunday was a different story because the clouds rolled in and the skies turned grey giving the team only a 4,000 ft. ceiling to work with. Even with the low clouds the Gold Team still came through for the show performing some canopy relative work and some of the jumpers wore smaller parachutes so they could show off their swooping skills for the last demonstration. Over all the Andrews Air Show was a great success.
The Gold Demonstration Team made a huge impression during the airshow when they paid a visit to the Army hangar which was supplied with 85 different Army vendors. Included in these vendors was the Army Cadet Corps of the National Capitol Region out of Ft. Meade, MD. Recruiting liaison SSG Shelby Bixler coordinated for seven Army Cadets to receive a plane side brief as well as an opportunity to assist the demonstrators in packing flags into their parachutes. Cadet SSG Nicholas Cutter is the leader of 17 cadets and plans a career in the Army and has already begun his skydiving career. Cadet Cutter stated that his Golden Knight experience from this weekend was “inspirational”. In addition to incorporating the Army Cadets into the Gold Teams pre-jump and post jump activities the Boy Scout troop #447 out of Fredericksburg, PA had the opportunity to meet and greet and discuss todays Army during the evening social on Andrews, AFB.
After each performance the team gathers up all their gear and walks through the crowd receiving high fives and pats on the back from the audience on their way to the packing area designated by the show sponsors and air show coordinators. While there, the jumpers receive help packing parachutes from anyone looking to lend a hand. The kids and young adults always get a kick out of helping the jumpers because for most this is the first time they have gotten to see a parachute up close and actually get to handle one. The best part about working with the young people is seeing the look of amazement in their eyes as they watch the large black and gold canopies become folded and disappear into the small containers.