Gray skies cannot dim Sunday fun at Cleveland National Air Show

Thunderbirds, Golden Knights soar ahead of storms

Story and photos by Michael Kelly

CLEVELAND – Adjustments on the fly are not uncommon in the world of military and specialty aircraft. Sunday’s forecast for late-afternoon thunderstorms bumped up the timeline for the Day 2 schedule at the Cleveland National Air Show.

Fans braved threat of rain as the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team took to the skies 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule. The US Air Force Thunderbirds, short two aircraft, still managed to squeeze in part of their show.

Cloud cover affected both programs.

The Golden Knights took off to a sun/cloud mix – but once they reached 11,100 feet it took some time before they were able to jump. Three paratroopers made it out ahead of the clouds before their aircraft was forced to descend to 3,000 feet and finish with a slightly-abbreviated program.

It was the second show of the day altered by weather. During the AM program the Knights had to fly at 5,000 feet.

Here is a photo gallery and some video from today’s afternoon performance!

The U.S. Army Golden Knights prepare for their first jumps from over 11,000-feet on Sunday afternoon (9/1/19) at the Cleveland National Air Show. Fast fact: for every 1,000-ft. the temperature drops 3-5 degrees. It was cold in that airplane!!