Tim Adams

      Motorsports and Aviation Photography

2006 Southern Wisconsin Airfest - Janesville, WI

Riding with the Golden Knights


This year, I had the pleasure of riding along with the U.S. Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team. This year the Gold Demonstration Team was performing in Janesville, WI.  As an added bonus on this flight, we had a media tandem jump. Jumping with the team was local news anchor, Dani Maxwell, from WREX-TV in Rockford, IL.

The first two pictures are the jump aircraft, a Fokker C-31A Friendship. Fully loaded, it can carry up to 50 paratroopers. In the next picture, Dani receives some last minute instruction from her tandem jumper.

Now our narrator for today, PFC Jared Zell, gets suited up before takeoff. As you can see in the next couple of pictures, this is a very relaxed bunch.  During the entire flight, the doors at the rear of the aircraft are kept open. It does get rather cold. Normal jump height is 12,500 feet. Today, because of  broken cloud cover, the team jumped at about 10,000 feet. After takeoff, the team throws streamers out of the plane to judge the wind direction. They can be seen kneeling on the floor watching the streamers as they drift toward the ground. As we circled above and gained altitude, I was able to snap a picture of the airport.

I really do not know if I would ever have the guts to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but as you can see here, Dani seems to have no worries at all. It is now time for our narrator to depart. I snapped two quick pictures as he exited the aircraft. It really is amazing how fast they fall. The team photographer can now be seen getting ready to jump with the rest of the team. That is a Canon DSLR attached to his helmet. He uses a tube in his mouth to fire the shutter. After the team departs the aircraft, it is a lonely feeling being left with just the media members in the rear of the aircraft. Later in the weekend, I was able to capture some of the team members as they landed, and recognized the Southern Wisconsin Airfest crowd.

All in all, it was a great experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who gets the chance.


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