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ABC7's Stacey Baca airborne

August 14, 2009 2:22:25 PM PDT
One of the highlights of this year's Chicago Air and Water Show is the high-flying acrobatics of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team.On Wednesday afternoon, some people, including our own Stacey Baca, were given the chance to experience a jump with the team. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Jumping out of plane and freefalling 120-miles-an-hour exhilarating. But this story truly begins in the classroom. After an hour class, we suited up in our Golden Knights jumpsuit. And we were ready for take off.

My tandem partner was Sgt 1st Class Mike Elliott. You might recognize him from his jump with former President Bush jumping with the Golden Knights when he turned 85 years old. Yes, that's Mike!

"There is nothing like having a president on your lap, taking him at 14,000 feet. There is nothing like that. It's sensational," said Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, Golden Knights Tandem Team.

Sensational to say the least. Once you're airborne, the thrill and action overwhelms you. I'm embarrassed to say that I pulled out every cheesy dance move I've known since the 1980s.

And, believe or not, there's a serious side to all this too.

"Obviously, there is a thrill. This is also a military skill, precision landing and parachutes. It's a highly coveted skill. We showcase our military skills to the American people," said Jared Zell, Golden Knights Tandem Team.

The jump was over within a few minutes in a tandem jump. Landing is sometimes the greatest challenge. Mike Elliot nailed it.

"You did a wonderful job. Your motivation. That's what it's all about. Thanks for a fabulous tandem skydive," said Sgt. Elliot.

Quite a bit of excitement for this Navy wife.

They'll pack up their chutes for right now but this weekend the Army Golden Knights are in the spotlight. Blue skies to all of you!


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