2021 Wheels and Wings Airshow - US Army Golden Knights
US Army Golden Knights
2021 Wheels & Wings Airshow
Millville Executive Airport
Millville, New Jersey
Sunday September 5, 2021
Please be sure you read the entire description to fully appreciate what you are seeing in this video.
On Sunday, I was invited to ride along with the Gold Demonstration Team on the first of two jumps made by the Golden Knights that day. Typically the team would like to jump from as high as 12,500 feet for all of their displays, but on this day, we only made it to 4,000 feet because of the cloud deck over the Millville Executive Airport.
This video is much different than you are used to seeing of the Golden Knights. As a rider you are briefed by one of the team members on the entire aspect of the flight, which includes safety belts, using supplemental oxygen if needed, emergency procedures and exit locations on the C-147/Dash 8, general etiquette, and of course usage of cameras and phones in flight. You must sign your life away and provide emergency contact information in the event an incident occurs that involves injuries or fatalities. The Golden Knights don't just let anyone fly with them; in fact, media rides are very rare and only occur on special occasions. Anyone who has been selected to go up with the team must also adhere to VERY STRICT clothing requirements and anyone not dressed for the flight does not fly. While it may be hot on the ground, the temperature at 12,500 feet is typically at or below 32º F, and thus, the team requires you to dress as if it is winter on the ground. Anyone with ear discomfort can request medical attention upon landing. Any equipment you bring on board must be stowed securely and the Golden Knights require that anything you hold in your hands must be strapped to the airplane itself; you will notice that my iPhone and my Nikon are attached to the plane in the video.
A lot of preparation goes into every single jump the Golden Knights do, and much of that is seen in this video. The entire team runs through a thorough safety briefing about jump rules, safe minimum altitudes for each type of jump, and much more. They will then go through the jump sequence on the ground, which is referred to as a dirt dive. This is similar to what you see many aerobatic pilots do before they fly - aerobatic pilots will use their hands and bodies to fly their sequence on the ground before getting into the cockpit. More safety precautions are brought up before all of the team members get together for a motivational huddle just prior to climbing into the Dash 8 and taking off.
Two camera angles are utilized in flight; the Golden Knights were kind enough to mount one of their GoPros to the cabin of the Dash 8 pointed out towards the jump door (I provided the micro SD card from the video camera I originally wanted to take flying) and I made a last minute decision to film with the iPhone rather than do photos with the Nikon. You will see two different angles of the streamer drop, the narrator exiting, and the mass exit show exiting the aircraft. There is also a third angle of the narrator exiting the aircraft that was kindly provided to me by Clemens Kuhlig of Chefpitts Airshows and I appreciate him letting me use that video. This all starts around the 15 minute mark of the video. Chef also joined up with the Golden Knights prior to the first jump (he was up there to circle the American flag) and provided me with an opportunity to knock out a quick air-to-air photo shoot. During the segment with the streamer drop, I asked one of the team members to provide commentary to why the team drops streamers.
I would like to thank all of the members of the Gold Demonstration Team of the US Army Golden Knights for allowing me to tag along for the first jump of the day, providing the GoPro that was mounted to the Dash 8, and providing as much information and assistance in making this video. In addition, I have to thank Clemens Kuhlig for giving his blessing to use the GoPro video from his aircraft. It was truly an honor and privilege to fly with the Golden Knights.
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