It 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.
Over the past weekend Gold Team participated in the Thunder in the Valley Air Show in Waterloo, IA conducting 3 shows. On Friday, the team did a mass formation with SSG Roman Grijalva, fresh out of Senior Leaders Course, jumping into the show first and then narrating for Children’s Appreciation Day. There were hundreds of students, which came from numerous schools in the area on field trips to attend the Thunder in the Valley Air Show. The Air Show had a social, where the members of the Gold Demonstration Team had the opportunity to get together and meet the sponsors and other performers.
Although Saturday started off with rain and low clouds, the skies quickly opened up to allow the team to do a full show. SGT Blake Gaynor was the first jumper in, and narrated the rest of the team as they came in for dead center landings. The team presented a baton to Reiley Gilbert, a 17 year old, who recently enlisted into the Army and is eagerly waiting to attend Basic Training. Sunday the team conducted another successful full show with SSG Jon Clevenger narrating. The team presented another baton to the Bob Molinaro family, which is a major sponsor of the show.
SSG Mike Koch, Photos by SFC Adrian Hill
This past weekend the Gold Demonstration Team participated in the Chicago Air and Water show. The practice jump went off without a hitch on Friday with SSG Jon Clevenger doing a joint three stack with All Veterans Group and the Leap Frogs with a drop flag and then narrating the rest of the team and the Leap Frogs conducting a joint mass formation.
Saturday morning SPC Daniel Osorio did another three stack with the Leap Frogs and the All Veterans Group and narrated both the Leap Frogs and the Gold Team doing two separate stack outs with Canopy Relative Work from 2500 feet. SSG Mike Koch narrated the team doing a stack out and canopy relative work passes from 3200 feet. Graham Hoeksta, a six and a half year old cancer survivor, was presented with a baton. That evening the team was able to take part in a social for all the air show personnel at Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta with a tour through the city of Chicago on a double decker bus.
Unfortunately, due to weather, the team was not able to conduct any shows on Sunday, but was able to meet many of the other performers along with their family and friends on the airfield in Gary, Indiana. Giving them tours of the plane and answering many questions.
SFC Brian Karst, Photos by, SGT Martin,SFC Hill & Donna Dixon