Falcons News

RAF Falcons Return Home to RAF Brize Norton Following Exercise Falcon Stack

The RAF Falcons have successfully completed Exercise Falcon Stack, a five-week long concentrated training programme, held in USA.

Members of the RAF Falcons conduct training with the Ensign Lowering Systems ready for the 2021 display season
Members of the RAF Falcons conduct training with the Ensign Lowering Systems ready for the 2021 display season

This second winter training follows on from their previous deployment to California on Exercise Freefall Endeavour, held late 2020.  It prepares the parachutists for the award of their Public Display Authority (PDA), which is normally presented by the Air Officer Commanding Two Group in early Spring, ahead of the display season beginning.

Members of the RAF Falcons undertaking winter training, perfecting their unique non-contact canopy stack
Members of the RAF Falcons undertaking winter training, perfecting their unique non-contact canopy stack

Commenting on the success of the Exercise, Sergeant Mike Davies, Third Year Falcon said:

“With over 90 jumps completed by each parachutist and the first-year team members excelling in their training, we are in a very good place to start our 60th Anniversary display season. Whether it’s been training the new Survival Equipment Specialist and Drop Zone Safety Officer to monitor the weather balloon we use to calculate our release point or the jumpers getting used to flying with the ‘flag’ (known as the Ensign Lowering System), everyone has been pushing themselves to learn new skills to demonstrate around the UK and Europe this year.”

Sergeant Mike Davies
Third Year Falcon

Clear blue Californian skies provide the perfect backdrop for parachute training
Clear blue Californian skies provide the perfect backdrop for parachute training

Conducting numerous descents per day, the Exercise not only provides the opportunity to conduct a period of focussed training in the ideal environment for parachuting, but it allows for the Team to build close working relationships ahead of the display season. During the exercise the Falcons also embarked on a two-week wind tunnel coaching course, where all members of the Team achieved a civilian qualification.

The RAF Falcons pack their parachutes under the guidance of their Survival Equipment Specialists after each descent
The RAF Falcons pack their parachutes under the guidance of their Survival Equipment Specialists after each descent

Flight Lieutenant Stu Philpott, Deputy Officer Commanding RAF Falcons said:

“Exercise Falcon Stack provided the Team with an opportunity to conduct the required display training and best prepared for the 2021 display season. During these testing times the Team made best use of the opportunity to focus on ensuring we are ready to display as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions allow. As the Deputy Officer Commanding, I was not only developing my parachuting ability but also my display Drop Zone understanding, to enable the Team to display at multiple locations in the same day. It was a fantastic and unique opportunity and one that I will remember for a long time!”

Flight Lieutenant Stu Philpott
Deputy Officer Commanding RAF Falcons

First Year Falcon, Sergeant McAll lands successfully on the Drop Zone during Exercise Falcon Stack
First Year Falcon, Sergeant McAll lands successfully on the Drop Zone during Exercise Falcon Stack

Now the Falcons are back in the UK they will continue with their parachute training in the Oxfordshire area, focusing on their famous non-contact canopy stack, all in preparation for the 2021 display season, where the Team will also be celebrating their 60th Anniversary.

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