The Chicago Air and Water show is scheduled for this weekend along the lakefront. The free show is the largest of its kind in the United States.

There will be a rehearsal show on Friday, the formal show goes from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Organizers say the best viewing location is North Avenue Beach. More than a million people are expected to watch the show from locations up and down the lakefront.

 This year’s headliners include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights were founded in 1959.  The unit travels across the nation performing demonstrations at events like the Chicago Air and Water Show and competing in international contests. The maneuvers they’ve mastered can be used in real-life combat situations, but through their dazzling demonstrations, the expert jumpers mainly serve as ambassadors of the U.S. Army.

Each Golden Knight must complete a rigorous eight weeks of assessment before  selection. They spend 18-hour days, seven days a week mastering accuracy skills and aerial maneuvers, while learning the history of the U.S  Army Parachute team.

Recently WGN’s Mike Lowe and photojournalist Kevin Doellman took a leap of faith with the elite parachute team.