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13 November 2014

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Sunderland Airshow

You are in: Wear > Entertainment > Sunderland Airshow > Falling to earth with the Falcons

RAF Falcons © RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team

Falcons quickly get into formation

Falling to earth with the Falcons

Flying machines of all types will fill the air at the Sunderland International Airshow at the weekend, but we will also be treated to flying Falcons - all they need is the air as they parachute to earth. We hear from a flying Falcon.

So there you are, standing at the edge of the exit door of a Chinook Helicopter at a height that might give you a second sighting of breakfast (anywhere between 2,500ft and 10,000ft) and the door opens.

Sgt Martin Peace © RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team

Sgt Martin Peace - an experienced jumper

The noise of the aircraft blends seamlessly with that of the air-rush outside and you are ready to take a walk… a walk over the edge!

But this is what one highly disciplined and trained group of men (and one woman who happens to be their team leader – Flt Lt Louise Buxton) do for a living.

They are the Royal Air Force Falcons Parachute Display Team.

They will be showing off their brilliant aerial ballet twice over the weekend at the Sunderland International Airshow, and as their jumps will be weather dependant, you can find out their timings from the programme on the day.


But, ahead of the jump, one of the team, Sgt Martin Peace, tells BBC Newcastle a little about parachuting and the team.

Martin has been with the Royal Air Force since 2000 and in the Falcons Team since 2008, so he knows what he's doing.

Since he started jumping, he has completed nearly 400 jumps, but every jump is a new one. Martin says: "You do get the nerves. It does get a lot easier and it is thoroughly enjoyable all the way through."

RAF Falcons parachuting © RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team

And then it's out with the smoke

Martin, just like the rest of the team, is really looking forward to jumping at Sunderland – he loves the massive crowds there.

Smoking in the air

As they jump out from the Chinook helicopter, you will easily be able to follow their downward, colourful spiraling.

"We'll have our smoke caps on," says Martin, "we usually wear two – one on each leg.

"We'll pop the smokes on board then we jump out so you'll get the effect of tracking which direction we'll be going, and we'll pop some smokes around the canopy too.

"Our brightly coloured chutes will identify exactly who we are, and we're proud of it."

So as the Chinook starts its flight over the beach on Saturday and Sunday – just think about that deep intake of breath... the count and then… the jump – that'll be the Falcons.

last updated: 24/07/2009 at 09:32
created: 24/07/2009

You are in: Wear > Entertainment > Sunderland Airshow > Falling to earth with the Falcons

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