Flying with The U.S. Army’s Golden Knights [PHOTOS]
Saturday (6/14) I was granted the opportunity to photograph The Golden Knights during their jump at Wings Over Whiteman. It has been a little over a year since I went skydiving. So this was cool to see what it looked like leaving the plane while jumping.
I arrived at the base around 8:30am. Very anxious and hoping the weather will stay away so they can jump. The Golden Knights will jump in rain but not with lightning. I enjoyed watching them prepare their chutes for the jump. One tucking the American Flag in with his chute.
They also practiced their aerial moves on the ground which was interesting. You would have to know what each and everyone of you were going to do so there would be no slip ups. A big hand over hand Golden Knights chant and then it’s time to board the plane. As they helped buckle me in by the starbord rear opening of the plane. I am having flashbacks from my jump. Again, I am sitting a couple of inches by the one of the openings of the plane. It is one of the scariest places to sit but it is where you get the money shots. I am ready. Everyone is buckled in and we taxi to the runway. The two Rolls Royce Engines rev up and we start taxiing down the runway on our way to the level of 3000 feet. With the clouds all around we were not able to go to the height of 12,000ft, because of the clouds. It is against the law to jump through clouds. I am kind of glad that we didn’t get to go that high. The reason for this with the photos that I was able to take, I had the base and ground as wonderful backgrounds from the air. They sent streamers down to check wind direction before the jump. The Knights walked around freely with the openings like it was nothing. But then again they did have chutes on. I was strapped in tight but I am only inches from the opening. It is such a weird feeling to sit next to an opening of a plane while in flight.
As the first Knight prepares to jump, remember he has the American Flag. All of a sudden a single engine prop plane appears on the port side of the plane just behind the opening of the plane. He steadies the plane matching our speed. Then the Knight jumps and the plane drops out of sight into a dive following the jumping Knight, circling him in white smoke as the Knights smoke cannisters spew out red smoke while he floats to the ground and that is offically the start of the air show.
The rest of the Knights line up and prepare to jump. It was time and out they went. As each Knight would jump you would hear a “Wooooosh” and then they were gone. Within 5-10 seconds the plane was empty of jumping Golden Knights. It was a very strange feeling being minus 8 people from your plane at 3000ft.
Once the Knights had jumped from the plane we started our decent back to the base. I had such a wonderful time with the Knights. It was fun and action packed. Look forward to doing it again. Hey Golden Knights, if you need someone to come along and photograph your jumps, call me anytime. Thanks for this great opportunity.