JONES BEACH (WABC) -- There were plenty of thrills at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach on Sunday, but one of our very own got an experience that was both fast, and furious!
Eyewitness News sports anchor Ryan Field got to skydive with the Army Golden Knights, and in his own words -- described the incredible ride.
Ryan Field describes skydiving with the Golden Knights
There are thrills in life, and then there are THRILLS.
I was lucky enough to experience the latter over Memorial Day weekend, taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime skydive with the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights!
I had been skydiving twice before, but never like this.
After an informative equipment demonstration and safety brief, I was taken to the plane where I was greeted by a pleasant surprise. Not only would I be jumping from a plane over Jones Beach, I'd be doing so along with the entire USAPT Gold Team as part of the Bethpage Air Show!
The adrenaline rush was well underway when, after I got buckled in my seat, the theme song from "Top Gun" began blaring over the airplane speakers.
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The boys were getting fired up to say the least! It felt like I was experiencing an Army training OP first hand, and to put that experience into words isn't easy.
What I can say is that it was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. Following some last-minute instructions, the plane took off as we headed towards our altitude goal of about 12,500 feet.
The team was staying loose, going over last-minute preps for wind speed and the landing area. Nothing can quite prepare you for that anticipation knowing you are about to plummet to the ground at speeds of about 120 MPH!
But before I knew it, we had reached our jumping altitude and it was go time! I was attached to my tandem partner, SSG Blake Gaynor, who had more than 4,700 hundred jumps under his belt. That gave me even more piece of mind as I looked down at the bright blue water and sandy beach below.
"Here we go! 1...2...3!"
And we were off! We were free falling for about 45 seconds, and with the help of the drogue chute, we maintained a constant speed before the main parachute was pulled.
Once that happened, I was just along for the ride and enjoying a view everyone should experience at least once in their life. It was surreal to say the least.
Off in the distance I saw our landing zoom. A giant, sectioned-off square on the beach with a big "X" marking the target.
At first, I thought, "there's no way we're going to hit that mark!"
Well sure enough, we nearly landed directly on top of it. We slid safely into the sandy beach to the cheers of thousands who were on hand for the air show.
One can't even begin to describe the emotional high that overcomes you upon landing. It was an adrenaline rush that seemed to last for days afterwards. A feeling of accomplishment that makes you believe that you can do anything.
And to do all that alongside the best parachute team in the land? Well, that's pretty special!
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