ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The Greater Binghamton Airshow returned this weekend after last year’s show was grounded due to the pandemic.
It was a fairly quiet Friday morning at the Greater Binghamton Airport, except for the sound of high-speed military aircraft flying overhead.
The Army’s parachute team, the Golden Knights, were among those practicing for the airshow.
Demonstrations by groups like the Army Golden Knights and the Air Force Thunderbirds used to be a big opportunity for outreach by military recruiters. But during the pandemic, airshows across the country were called off.
“Last year we had a lot of downtime, literally,” said Staff Sergeant Morgan George, Assistant Team Leader for the Golden Knights.
Typically, George said the Golden Knights attend about a hundred airshow events a year. Last year, his team only went to three.
“It was pretty difficult jumping and sweating with a mask on,” George said.
When George is talking about jumping, he means jumping out of the back of a plane. Besides the masks, there are a few other factors that can make a parachute jump tricky, like cloud cover.
“Right now, we’re at 6,300 feet,” said Sergeant First Class Danny Hellman. “Our jumpmaster and team leader are looking at the aircraft to see the best judgment on whether we could find a hole in the clouds. But if not, we’ll probably fly back down to 2,000 or 2,500, and then get out that way.”
Once the plane descended below the clouds, Hellman and the other Golden Knights were eventually able to get a few parachute jumps in during the Friday practice session. But that was not the case for the rest of the weekend.
Sunday’s events were cancelled. Not because of the pandemic. Rather, because of rain.