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Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 23:47
EL PASO — Thousands of spectators at the Amigo Airsho are taking in the death defying stunts from some of the best stunt pilots and skydivers at Biggs Army Airfield over the weekend.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights have been captivating crowds for more than 50 years and are some of this year's featured performers.
"It's a lot of fun," said Sergeant Trey Martin. "There's nothing like jumping out of an airplane especially with the United States Army Parachute Team."
The Golden Knights date back to 1959 when the Army put together a 13 person team to compete in the sport of skydiving.
Since then, the knights have been performing throughout the country working as a recruiting tool.
"I saw the Golden Knights for the first time when I was a freshman in high school," said David Echeverry of how he first got interested in skydiving. "I looked at my parents and I said that's what I want to be when I grow up."
The Knights have become a tight knit group, spending about 250 days a year travelling as a team.
They've learned to work together and more importantly trust each other.
"We all have to maintain and pack parachutes ourselves, pack flags and make sure the jumps go as planned on time," Martin said.
Before each jump, the team works together scoping out their landing.
At about 2,000 feet above ground, they toss out a small flag parachute to help them gauge what the conditions might be when they open their parachutes.
"There's a lot that goes into it that we as civilians don't understand but they got this down to a tee," said passenger Jesus Melendez.
The plane circles over the landing site while parachuters use hand signals to guide the pilot over the target.
For those on the team, jumping out of planes is second nature.
"No, don't get nervous," Echeverry said. "Every time we jump come new challenges so every jump is different."
As each team member jumped out of the plane, they waved as they disappeared into the El Paso sky delighting the thousands of fans down at ground level.
The Amigo Airsho wraps up Sunday afternoon.
Gates open from 10am - 6pm
Golden Knights are scheduled to perform at 10:am and 1:30pm.