Gold Team Fourth Week at ACC

Parra-Little After crossDuring week four of ACC, Gold Team worked diligently on diamond tracks. Even with the challenge of having three new team members to teach this demanding maneuver to, we did an excellent job at making our crosses close and more consistent than the team has in the past. During the diamond track, two jumpers must exit the aircraft simultaneously, and track nearly one and a half miles apart. Once at this distance, both turn 180 degrees to find the smoke trail of one another in the sky, and track back towards their partner, crossing within what appears to be inches of each other. This is a very difficult maneuver to learn and perform. Because of the difficulty, each tracking team will perform with only one another throughout the entire season.

Not only did we have a successful week with the diamond track, but we also continued to open out each training morning with CRW. We had an amazing week creating more dramatic formations with our canopies, while also including flags and smoke into the mix.

Looking ahead, we will be starting our reverse cycle, concentrating our focus on night jumps with cold burning pyro. All of us are extremely excited to begin night training, as it is an incredible performance to watch for both our fans and us.

Blue Skies!!

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Black Team Completes Diamond Tracks During Week Four

Hitfter-crossBoth tracking partners simultaneously exit our distinctly painted US Army C31 Friendship Aircraft at an altitude of twelve thousand five hundred feet. Their goal is to create a diamond in the sky with their smoke trails and then turn one hundred and eighty degrees just to streak back towards one another, creating a dramatic cross in the sky with combined closing speeds of up to three hundred miles per hour.


Assistant Team Leader SFC Teigh Statler has continued to coach, mentor, and motivate the black demonstration team as we began our fourth week of training which consisited of the diamond track maneuver, canopy relative work, and mass formation jumps. The diamond track maneuver requires each jumper to manipulate their bodies while flying towards each other using their hands, arms, legs and shoulders as flight controls to safely and precisely complete the difficult diamond track maneuver, crossing within what appears to be inches of each other from the ground.

The team is extremely positive with the progression of each of our maneuvers as well as the camaraderie that continues to build with six weeks remaining of our training here in Homestead, FL. The team begins our night training this coming week !


Blue Skies

Black Team !

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8way For members of the Golden Knights 8 Way Formation Team attending winter training in Avon Park, FL this year the stakes couldn’t be higher. The month’s worth of jumps here is the kick off of a two-year campaign to secure the teams third consecutive World Championship Title. A feat no other Golden Knights team has accomplished even once in this century.

GK8 may have escaped the weather back home in North Carolina, but the hard work, dedication, and discipline were packed into the team’s suitcases even before the parachutes. There are no sandy beaches or fun filled trips to amusement parks in the near future for this team of Golden Knights. They have their eyes set on one goal and one goal alone, Training to WIN!

This training Saturday started with a 0530 wakeup for the team as members perform their morning rituals. Some start with coffee, some with a run, but all conclude with departing to the drop zone before the sun crests the horizon. They’ve spent the previous evening thinking about the day’s upcoming jumps, what they’ve done well so far, and what they can fix today. Each jump is a tremendous learning opportunity, so every effort is put forth into preparation, and no jump is wasted.

The drop zone is set up and GK8 promptly goes to work on creepers. Each move of the skydive is meticulously analyzed, repeated, and committed to memory. When it comes to competition, there are no do-over’s or ‘fun jumps’. The gear is inspected, donned, and the team rehearses the sequence one more time from the mock-up aircraft door before heading to the airplane.

The ride to altitude is silent. This is the last 20 minutes each jumper will be able to reflect on this particular sequence before performing it in real time. At this point, the skydive becomes nearly completely mental. Each jumper is walking through the complex system of moves, grips, checks, and keys he must successfully complete in order to score just one point. Then the process is repeated an average of 20 times before the skydive ends.

GK8 completes the jumps in sets of four, with short breaks in between each set so the aviators can fuel the aircraft, and the competitors can fuel their bodies. The team watches the air-to-air video and picks apart each jump frame by frame, identifying things to fix on the next set of four jumps. After the video debrief, it’s back down on the creepers to repeat the process all over again. Once the jump day is finished, it’s time to learn the new set of skydives for tomorrow’s work. Which will occupy the competitor’s minds that evening, as they ice sore elbows, backs, and necks, write notes about the days training in their binders, and begin rest to start all over at 0530 the next morning?


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