The Black Demonstration Team led by SFC Kevin Presgraves made their third air show appearance of the season at the 11th Annual Jones Beach Airshow in New York. It was an honor to be back in the skies again performing alongside so many prestigious acts including the US Navy Blue Angels and legendary aviation pilot Sean D. Tucker of Team Oracle.
The Team performs for more than 1/3 of the American Public Annually
The team was welcomed back to the air show circuit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum to kick off the weekends festivities. SFC Kevin Presgraves presented a team lithograph to air show sponsor Bethpage Federal Credit Union and thanked all of the air show sponsors for inviting us back to Jones Beach, NY.
SGT Travis Downing and SGT David Flynn were the narrators for our performances on Saturday and Sunday. They both had the honor of flying in our Nation’s Colors prior to our performances. During each of our narrators canopy decent into the 200 by 200 foot landing area, Mr. Sean D. Tucker and his aerobatic dream machine circled each of them with the Team Oracle plane.
What an honor it was to represent all Soldiers past and present in front of a record setting crowd of close to 500,000. After each of our performances this weekend we walked out of our 200 by 200 foot drop zone carrying our parachutes into a crowd of thousands of spectators. We received plenty of high fives and were thanked over and over again for our service to this wonderful Country as well as the spectacular performances. The strength of our Soldiers comes from the support we receive all across the Nation. Thank you Jones Beach!
Black team is preparing for another local performance into the Fayetteville Swamp Dogs Minor League Baseball game this weekend and then will make their 4th air show appearance in Rockford, Illinois. SSG Bixler Photos by SSG Pendleton
13,500 feet above Cape Girardeaux
On Friday evening, the Gold demonstration team started the weekend by jumping into the Lawless Harley dealership of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Lawless Harley provides tremendous support to the community to make this airshow possible. SGT Blake Gaynor stepped out of the teams C-31 Friendship at exactly 7:30 pm to start the show. SGT Gaynor narrated the rest of the team demonstration. Shortly after,the remaining jumpers conducted a mass formation, which is just one of the many formations possible to achieve while in free fall.
SGT Blake Gaynor bringing in the American Flag
After a dreary rainy week in Cape Girardeau, we woke up to partly clear blue skies and promising weather for a good weekend. The gloomy clouds that lingered around for the first jump of the day cleared up before we headed back up to altitude to complete our full show. All the maneuvers were performed including the demanding diamond track. SPC Daniel Osorio closed the show out and the team headed over to the Army recruiting booth to pack our parachutes in the audience and to sign autographs.
Sunday morning, brilliant blue skies brought another full day at the air show. We were able to have another successful day with a morning formation jump and an afternoon full show. SSG Brandon Parra narrated the Sunday afternoon full show and closed out the weekend for the team.
The team would like to thank the Cape Girardeau community for their support and hospitality. We look forward to returning next year. SSG Clevenger
Greetings from the flight line here at Pope Army Airfield. The Aviation Detachment continues supporting the absolute best paratroopers in the world. We have two air shows under our belt for the 2014 season having recently completed the show at Travis Air Force Base, CA, and returning today from Lakehurst, NJ. Of course we continue supporting local demonstrations and outreach projects to further connect the American People with America’s Army.
Many members of the public fly on commercial and public use aircraft but rarely have the opportunity to look at the maintenance that goes into keeping the fleet in top notch condition.
This week we decided to snap a few pictures of the maintenance checks being performed on the C-31 Fokker, tail number 607 affectionately known as “Excalibur”.
Both C-31 aircraft operated by the United States Army Parachute Team were acquired in 1985 and are pushing 30 years of service. Both aircraft have in excess of 14,500 hours of total use thus far and over 15,000 landings. These aircraft have a life span limited to 90,000 landings, and although they are technically in their infancy with regards to their service life, the rapid retirement of F27 from commercial use worldwide make the supply chain for spare parts a limited resource. With 15,000 landings thus far, inspection of the landing gear system is a continuing process that we trust to our maintenance partners of Kay and Associates. Below is a picture of the left side of the aircraft with the jack stand fully supporting a third of the total weight of around 28,000 pounds.
Placing an aircraft on jacks requires maintenance professionals who are experts in the procedures. Kay and Associates, as the team contract maintainers have a team of experts who have worked on this aircraft since it arrived at the team in 1985. Testing the landing gear is a routine procedure for these professionals but the same level of attention to the procedure is given each and every time. In the picture below, one mechanic observes cockpit indications while two additional mechanics check and recheck systems before the landing gear is brought to the up position during testing.
Excalibur gets new shoes and a close inspection of the nose gear.
Typically, the aircraft weighs in excess of 42,000 pounds when fully loaded and departing for an air show. While taxing, pilots use a small wheel located near each pilots knee that functions much like a car steering wheel. Prior to take off, the crew unlocks the flight controls and the copilot maintains control of the yoke and the pilot flying steers the airplane down the runway using a combination of rudder and the nose wheel steering. At 60 knots of airspeed, the pilot flying takes control of the aircraft from the copilot effecting a smooth transition from the runway to powered flight. Flying the Fokker is a delicate balance of technique and crew coordination.
All aircraft are maintained according to factory specifications. The US Army Parachute Team operates the only C-31 (Fokker F27) aircraft in the United States. Aircraft of this type and design were used for many years by FedEx, Piedmont Airlines, and others as reliable commuter and freight carrying aircraft.