LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While their jumps are entertaining during Thunder Over Louisville's airshow, the Kentucky Air National Guard's performance is actually critically important to their training.
The guard will be demonstrating a HALO, high altitude low opening, drop. They must jump high, then free fall as low as possible before opening the parachute.
"There's a level of coordination and planning that goes along with that that is not unique to an airshow, but is common to any operation that we do," said Lt. Col. Josh Ketterer with the Kentucky Air National Guard. "So, it is an excellent use of our training days and dollars and it's exactly how we employ for an airshow."
The jump isn't just about entertaining onlookers, but a true training exercise for troops to use HALO jumps in combat situations.
"So, let's say we want to drop someone who is going into a denied environment," Ketterer said. "We can drop them from our C-130, in a high altitude where they are relatively safe from small arms or anti aircraft artillery. Because of that, it allows them to have a short exposure time in that area of vulnerability."
While you look to the skies or watch the air show on WHAS11 April 17, remember that the entertainment for you is someone else's day of work. As for Ketterer, a jump is not in his Thunder plans.
"Absolutely not," Ketterer said. "Unquestionably no. I will never leave a good airplane. Not on purpose."
For more information on this year's Thunder Over Louisville, click here.