CHICAGO - As Chicago Air and Water Show week kicks into full gear, ABC 7 Eyewitness News takes a look at what it takes to be a Golden Knight.
We went inside the plane and in the air with the U.S. Army Golden Knights and spoke to a Knight from Illinois who is excited to perform closer to home.
"I love performing in Chicago I've done the show several times," said Sergeant First Class Teigh Statler. "It's just a great city and being from Illinois makes it a little more special."
Statler has spent the last eight years doing this.
"You're standing in the aircraft looking out the door at 2,000 feet, you're like 'I have to go there,' but the amount of training that we do and the prep that goes into it, it takes a lot of it away. So I was nervous but very confident and excited at the same time," he said.
Statler gave ABC7 Eyewitness News a look inside their air craft to see just how the team prepares.
"This is the jump door, and they remain open the entire time. This is how we get to our performances," he said. "All our parachutes lined up in a row the smokes ready to go and ready to roll. Main pursuits, reserve parachutes, here our jumpsuit that I'm wearing, this is how we fold them up and get ready for the show, our helmet, goggles, this is our flotation device in case we land in the water."
"Each jumper also wears gloves and a wrist held altimeter and there is also an altimeter on the parachute itself. In case that one fails we have a back up to know what altitude we're at," Statler said.
For Statler, this is his every day: pack, prepare and put on a show for all of you.
"We take it very seriously, and we enjoy what we do and we try to be on the cutting edge as possible to make the safe as possible experience and give the American public the best possible experience," he said.
So what does it take to be a Golden Knight? You must be active duty in the Army, have at least 100 freefall jumps, apply, and pass eight weeks of rigorous training.
ABC7 will feature many stories this week leading up to the Chicago Air & Water Show. For more information about watching the show, CLICK HERE.