Beech-18 Wing Party

Beech-18 Wing Party

I was tasked with creating an pre-race opening aviation demonstration which would be broadcast live on television. Planes are cool and all, but the Airforce skydiving team always had huge impact during live events - and I wanted to give my team the premiere slot. If you've ever seen these guys land, they are coming in hot, and for sure they wow the crowd. I'm not talking about the old guys with big dumb parachutes. I'm referring to the legends of modern swooping with high performance canopies under high wing loading.

One of the most underrated and least talked about element of skydiving is the fact you get to do cool things with airplanes - besides jumping from them. With Twin Otters, you can climb onto the roof, or try and make it to the Landing gear or Hang from the Tail (rare). In Skyvans. you grab onto the floor exit "bar" and lay down while you're back buffets on the Air Flow or just flat out run and doing a big gainer / floater out of the back. The list goes on...

For years, this old picture from the skydiving wild west in NZ had fascinated many of us for years for many reasons. The biggest one was the dude hanging from the prop. How did he get there? Wing crawl, assist, cowling hug, slowly grab the prop while it was stabilized up top? How many tries did it take? Nail it the first time? So much RADNESS in one photo!  I only bet on things with my life, not money, but it's safe to say this wouldn't fly with the FAA.

We opted to go without the prop hang. ha. I sourced the pilot, Matt, and his killer restored Beech 18 aircraft out of LGB. The Chase plane, a modified Cessna 337 with a GYRON Stabilized camera and telemetry system was sourced out of Los Angeles through Wolfe Air.  

Here's a few shots from one of the practice days:

And now, The real deal from the live event, Enjoy!