Michelle Flies with the Golden Knights at Airfest 2014 [VIDEOS]
This weekend, Rockford is packed with planes for Airfest 2014! I got the chance to fly inside the C31 Fokker Friendship with the US Army Golden Knights to open the show on Saturday, with the doors open the entire flight. I'm still alive, with pictures and videos to share.
It was such a cool experience to see what these guys (and one girl) do for a living. Yes, parachuting out of planes in airfests around the country is their job, and I heard more than one of them yelling "I have the coolest job ever!" before they jumped.
As a press rider, I had to sit through a quick briefing before they let us fly, including being asked if I had been scuba diving in the last 24 hours. I can't even swim, so that's not a problem for me, but it is interesting to think that scuba-ing and flying can't happen too close together.
After the briefing, we were allowed to go through the plane and take pictures, including sitting in the cockpit.
Then we hung out with the team before the show started. They may have been the happiest bunch of people I've ever met. You can really tell they love what they do, and were ridiculously excited to share that with Rockford.
The Golden Knights opened the show at about 10:45am, but that meant we needed to take off right around 10. It takes longer than you'd think to get 12,000 feet up in the air, and I would be lying if I didn't think I was going to throw up at least twice while we got up there. Let's be real here, the doors were OPEN the entire time.
They warned us it was going to be cold, but of course I didn't believe it was going to be THAT cold. One of the Golden Knights sat next to me when we were only 2,000 feet up and said, "How ya doing over there Miss 'I'm not gonna be cold'." I was fine then, and that's when he told me we were only 1/6 of the way up. He thought my shoes weren't warm enough and said my feet would freeze and get sucked out of the plane. I told him as long as my left foot stays with me, I'm good, because my left one is more adorable.
It did get really cold, but only for about five minutes. I had to remind myself how many Bears games I've survived in way colder temps and that this experience was way too awesome to care about being cold.
Then they jumped! You have to watch my video because Shelby, the only girl, jumps out and hits the wall! I was so nervous she'd be hurt and then I see all the rest of the boys laughing at her, apparently it was not an injury thing but more of a "haha, she hit the wall thing." One of her teammates said he was going to print out a picture of her mishap and tape it to her locker next week. Oh boys.
I could probably write a million more paragraphs about the two hours I spent with them, it was that interesting, but instead just be sure to watch the entire video and click through the pics. I can't say I will ever fly in a plane with open doors again, but it was worth doing once!