Falcons

2018 Events

2nd May - MacMillan Mile
Royal Air Force Cranwell

6th May - Welsh FA Cup Final
Newtown Football Club

10th May - C Sqn Graduation
Royal Air Force Cranwell

12th May - Rugby 7s Competition
Minety Rugby Football Club 

17th May - Landowners Day
Royal Air Force Shawbury

29th May - Dam Busters Dinner
Shrivenham Defence Academy 

31st May - Families Day
Royal Air Force Valley

1st June - Cotswold Olympics
Chipping Camden

3rd June - Royal Flying Corps Air Pageant
Rendcombe 

5th June - RAF100 Baton Relay
Menwith Hill, Harrogate 

6th June - STEM Event
Cheltenham College 

7th June - Royal Cornwall Show
Wadebridge, Cornwall 

8th June - Royal Cornwall Show
Wadebridge, Cornwall 

9th June - Royal Cornwall Show
Wadebridge, Cornwall 

9th June - Air Cadet Muster
Royal Air Force Benson

10th June - Cosford Airshow
Cosford, Shropshire

13th June - Annual Formal Reception
Joint Force Command Chicksands 

20th June - Annual Formal Reception
Royal Air Force Brize Norton 

21st June - Lincolnshire Show
Lincolnshire Showground

22nd June - Lincolnshire Show
Lincolnshire Showground

22nd June - Basic Fast Jet Training Graduation
Royal Air Force Linton-on-Ouse 

27th June - Royal Norfolk Show
Norfolk Showground

28th June - Royal Norfolk Show
Norfolk Showground

29th June - School Centenary
Beaudesert Park School 

30th June - Wales National Airshow
Swansea 

30th June - National Wales Armed Forces Day
Llandudno 

1st July - Wales National Airshow
Swansea

7th July - DSFC Annual General Inspection
Welbeck College 

12th July - Defence Academy Music and Fireworks
Shrivenham Defence Academy 

14th July - Royal International Air Tattoo VIP Event
Rendcomb 

17th July - RAF100 Science Technology Engeneering Mathamatics (STEM) Event
Carterton College 

24th July - Royal Welsh Show
Builth Wells 

25th July - Royal Welsh Show
Builth Wells 

26th July - Families Day
RAF Marham Families Day

26th July - Families Day
RAF Honington 

28th July - Sunderland International Airshow
Sunderland

29th July - Sunderland International Airshow
Sunderland

10th August - International Balloon Fiesta
Bristol 

11th August - Wings Over Carew Festival
Carew 

16th August - Community Week
Lyme Regis 

18th August - Digby Day
Royal Air Force Digby 

22nd August - Ebor Festival
York Racecourse 

26th August - Leicestershire County Show
Market Harborough 

29th August - Families Day
Royal Air Force Odiham 

30th August - Families Day
Royal Air Force Wyton 

30th August - Families Day
Royal Air Force Cranwell 

1st September - Family Festival
Shackerstone 

1st September - Brizefest
Royal Air Force Brize Norton 

2nd September - Ayr International Airshow
Ayr

2nd September - Air Waves 2018
Portrush 

4th September - Chief of the Air Staff Commendations
Royal Air Force Northolt 

6th September - Autumn Reception
Royal Air Force Shawbury 

8th September - Belgian Air Force Day
Kleine Brogel 

8th September - Centenary Celebrations
Haywards Heath 

9th September - Belgian Air Force Day
Kleine Brogel 

13th September - Annual Reception
Royal Air Force Cosford 

21st September - C-17 PT Event
RAF Brize Norton 

23rd September - Warren Classic and Supercar Show
Maldon 

Display Parachuting

Display parachuting is one of the most difficult types of parachuting and requires hard work, a high level of skill and, most importantly, trust in other team members and their equipment. This is why the RAF Falcons are Britain's premier Parachute Display Team. 

The RAF Falcons parachute display is both unique and flexible. This is necessary due to weather conditions that will dictate which of the three types of show the team may be asked to perform at very late notice. 

Each display consists of the following:

  • A variety of movements across the sky in freefall using coloured smokes to illustrate an aerial pattern.
  • Demonstration of close proximity flying under canopy which includes the famous Falcons’ non-contact canopy stack.
  • Controlled and accurate landings into small confined areas, often near buildings or water.

Preparation

Approximately 2 hours before display, a detailed brief is given by the Team Coach on the type of display the Team are going to undertake.

Many factors are taken into consideration such as the weather, wind direction and hazards on the drop zone. The weather plays an important factor as this can determine which one of the shows will take place.

The Team will then perform whole demonstration on the ground from exit, freefall and canopy control to the landing pattern; a mental rehearsal of the whole display known as the 'Dirt Dive'. 

The Exit

Ten minutes before the jump, either the ramp (Skyvan/C-130) or the door of the Dornier 228 is opened so the Team Coach can visually locate the drop zone, orientate himself and calculate the release point of the Team.

Two minutes before exit, the Team will practice their emergency drills in the unlikely event that they encounter any problems. The team then position themselves strategically for a faster and more efficient exit and await the light signals from the aircraft Captain. Red On, Green On, Go... 

Freefall

Once the parachutists leave the aircraft they immediately begin the freefall phase of the display and within seconds they reach 'terminal velocity' - that's 120 mph, straight down!

Simply by altering their body position against the airflow, they can move around the sky with precision enabling them to group together and create formations.

At a predetermined height and following a signal by the Team Coach, all the Team members make their way to the set up area and deploy their parachutes.

Each member is responsible for deploying their own parachute by throwing a small drogue parachute into the air stream and this, in turn, pulls their main parachute out of its container.

Canopy Stacking

Once all the canopies are fully open, which normally takes about 4 seconds, the Team Coach will start to build the canopy stack from the bottom man upwards.

The Team use square parachutes which have the potential forward speed of 25 mph and are steered using steering toggles - hence making them very manoeuvrable.

All 9 parachutists then form their trademark 'non-contact' canopy stack approximately 15 feet above the man below. The Team use a technique called 'risering' to maintain the correct distance between each other and follow the low man and the rest of the Team into the Drop Zone.

For safety and visual effect during displays, each man will wear smoke canisters attached to their ankles which they operate manually on a radio call from the Team Coach. The bottom man on the stack is always the very experienced Team Coach who trails white smoke and the 8 men above him trail red smoke. 

Final Approach and Landing

The approach into a small landing area is difficult enough for one parachutist so with the addition of 9 others, all trying to land in quick succession, this proves to be the most challenging part of the display.

In order not to compromise safety, the parachutists stay directly above each other until it is their turn to peel off and commence their landing pattern. Turns are fast and furious and, working as a team, the RAF Falcons are renowned for their ability to land in confined spaces under immense pressure. 

The Salute

Once all the team members are down safely they will then work quickly to take off all their ancillary equipment and put on their berets.

Then Drop Zone Safety Officer will call for the RAF Falcons to form up.

Once the team has formed up, the Drop Zone Safety Officer will march out to the front, salute, and then present the RAF Falcons to dignitaries and spectators. 

Display Format

High show: 9000 ft - 12,000 ft above ground level

The high show is initiated by exiting the aircraft at an altitude between 9,000 - 12,000 ft. The team coach and three other members will launch a 4-man exit presenting a ‘base’ that falls vertically to create a strong smoke column. The remaining team members exit individually in an echelon formation at staggered heights, falling at speeds of up to 120 mph. This free fall display requires precision flying and good timing to ensure everyone is in the optimal position for the formation of the canopy stack. 

Mid show: 5000 ft - 9000 ft above ground level

The team will exit the aircraft individually between 5,000 - 9,000 ft. Once in free fall, the team will create an echelon formation, falling at speeds of up to 120 mph before deploying their parachutes on a signal from the team coach. 

Low show: 2500 ft - 5000 ft above ground level

Occasionally, the weather and in particular the cloud base will necessitate a much lower show which does not give them scope to perform their free fall movements. They are still able to offer a display that fully demonstrates their accomplished canopy skills. After the exit, six of the team members have only a few seconds to deploy their canopy, whereas the remaining jumpers pull their parachutes immediately on exit. Once the canopies have opened safely, each team member will position himself above the person below to form the famous Falcons canopy stack. 

Display Day

The life of an RAF Falcon on a display day:

Parachutist Brief

The Team Coach gives a detailed brief to all other team members covering weather conditions, Drop Zone hazards and the type of display that will be conducted.

Dirt Dive

All team members practice on the ground exactly what is expected of them in the air.

Fitting of Equipment 

The Team now will start ‘fitting up’ with the parachute system and all their ancillary equipment. Once complete another member of the Team will then go through a rigorous check process to ensure everything is fitted correctly and functioning properly. 

Onboard

Once the Team take off, they start preparing for the display; this includes the fitting of smoke brackets and checking each other ensuring all parachute equipment that is required is worn and fitted correctly. 

Spotting

When the aircraft is approximately 2 minutes from the Drop Zone the Team Coach will request directional control of the aircraft to ensure the Team exit at exactly the correct position. 

Exit and Freefall

Depending on the weather conditions and type of aircraft, the Team either begin their display from the ramp or side doors.

The Team exits the aircraft in a predetermined pattern to ensure the correct set up for the canopy stack; this is all done at speeds of up to 120 mph. 

Canopy Stack

Once under canopy each team member manoeuvres into their position in the Falcons Stack, aiming to position themselves approximately 15 ft above the canopy below them. 

Landing

The Team will aim to land on the 2 crosses placed on the Drop Zone. The Drop Zone can be as small as 75 x 75 yards although the team members are skilled enough to land in a much more confined area. 

Line Up

As soon as the Falcons land they divest themselves of their equipment and run to the line up. As the Team Leader takes the salute, the display aircraft does its flypast with impeccable timing. 

Public Relations

Public relations are really importance to the Team and, after each display, they look forward meeting members of the public, signing autographs and answering any questions they might have. All members of the Falcons appreciate the support they receive from the crowds and enjoy spending time after the display mingling. 

Connect with Falcons

Using Internet Explorer 8? Please switch to using Chrome if you can.