Smiles crept up the faces of the try-outs this last Thursday as the Golden Knights Twin-Otter aircraft made its climb up to 12,500 feet. The sky was clear and sunny and for the remaining try-outs, this was their first of many exciting baton-passes. It’s the third week of this years Golden Knight Assessment and Selection program and with the improving weather the try-outs are once again back in the skies over Laurinburg, NC. In order to make up for the lost time the cadre are working hard to get the try-outs as many jumps a day as they can. To maximize the training they keep a close watch on the jumpers from the moment he leaves the plane until the landing. At the end of the day a thorough debriefing is given using video recordings of all the jumps. The cadre go in-depth on everything that went right and wrong and the try-out must explain what was happening at that moment. Throughout the day there is no time to rest. Sometimes in as little as 15 minutes from landing the try-out is expected to have his parachute packed and be ready to get on the plane again. Next week the try-outs will put themselves to the test again with the demanding diamond track maneuver. As always we strive for perfection in the skies and soft landings on target.
The 2011 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air show was a huge hit with perfect weather and over 1 million fans. The Golden Knights couldn’t have asked for better conditions and to conduct four shows for the spectators over San Diego California.
This year was especially unique for Gold Team because we were able to make out signature night show alongside the U.S. Navy Parachute Team “The Leap Frogs.” All of which would not have been possible with the incredible jump platform from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Marine C-130T Hercules nicknamed Fat-Albert. Jumping from Fat-Albert at night will forever be an incredible moment for the Golden Knights. It was truly a rare joint demonstration jump where so many branches of military came together in order to make such a wonderful air show become magical.
Sunday morning the Golden Knights were back to our own aircraft reaching an amazing altitude of 13’500 feet over the blue-skies of San Diego, California. Joining us on board were members of the Marine Corps VM-12 Flight Line Activity crew. These lucky Marines were given a true birds eye view of MCAS MIRAMAR, where they have worked day in and day out to accomplish their mission in providing a world-class air show for the surrounding population of San Diego, California.
The Friday demonstration at any air show is typically the eye-catching experience for media and early attendees. However this year for the first time our C-31 Fokker aircraft suffered minor damage to the right landing gear, shutting down the Golden Knights for our first show. Although faced with logistical issues, Team 6 back at Fort Bragg has kicked into high gear and has already shipped out new parts to fix our aircraft. We will be up and running to perform our signature night mass demonstrations.
With our jump platform down, today’s mission was to energize the crowd and to meet as many spectators as possible. We spent the afternoon in front of the Army recruiting tent discussing the inner workings of the exciting life of an Army soldier.
Gold Team looks forward to the future jumps to be demonstrated over the weekend and can’t wait to get back into the sky for MCAS MIRAMAR.