Chicago Air and Water Show: ABC7's Stephanie Wade jumps out of plane with US Army Golden Knights

City says over 1 million spectators attended this year's show

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Monday, August 21, 2023
ABC7 reporter jumps out of plane during Chicago Air and Water Show
ABC7's Stephanie Wade jumped out of a plane with the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team during the Chicago Air and Water Show.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sunday was the final day of the 64th edition of the Chicago Air and Water Show.

ABC7's Stephanie Wade got the exclusive chance to star in the show by jumping out of a plane with the U.S. Army Golden Knights.

Here's more of ABC7's Stephanie Wade starring in the Chicago Air and Water Show!

The U.S. Army "Parachute Team" Golden Knights invited her along for the unique opportunity to jump tandem with the team.

"I'm so excited. I did not sleep very much last night. Nope. The adrenaline was pumping," Wade said before the big jump.

After undergoing some important safety training, Wade and the team huddled around the plane.

"I feel the safest I could be jumping with you guys," Wade said.

SEE ALSO | ABC7's Christian Piekos flies with US Air Force Thunderbirds at Chicago Air and Water Show

ABC7's Christian Piekos flew with the USAF Thunderbirds at the Chicago Air and Water Show!

Sgt. First Class Morgan George offered her some motivational words.

"Some people go their entire lives wondering if they made a difference. After this jump, we won't have to wonder," George said.

With her sky-diving gear on, zipped up and strapped in, it was time to fly!

ALSO WATCH: ABC7 Flywitness News

ABC7 flying with the performers at the Chicago Air & Water Show through the years.

Wade shared a couple laughs with the team to ease the nerves as they climbed to 12,000 feet. Her stomach was in knots as they made their way next to the open door.

After a couple thumbs up and a count of three, they thrust out of the plane. And, it was all caught on video.

They free-fell for 60 seconds at speeds of 120 mph. At 5,000 feet, Wade's tandem partner, Ryan Reis, opened their parachute.

Then, all was still. It was indescribably peaceful, floating above the clouds, before they landed on North Avenue Beach.

"Dizzy. But that was amazing. I mean the free fall, there is nothing like it," Wade said. "It's like you're floating on air, like time just stopped, and you're looking at the beautiful skyline. That was incredible."

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said the 2023 show's estimated attendance was well over 1 million people, making it one of the biggest in the event's history and significantly larger than last year, which was a weekend of rain and storms.