We attend the official Launch Day of the RAF Falcons 2023 parachute display season, kicking off with an incredible airborne performance on their home turf at RAF Brize Norton.
FALCONS SWOOP TO SUCCESS
Launching the RAF Falcons’ 2023 parachute display season in truly spectacular fashion, we watched on as the highly impressive team ignited their summer calendar of events with a breathtaking performance, streaking gracefully through the sky high above their home base of RAF Brize Norton.
Widely and rightfully recognised as the UK’s premier military parachute display team, the RAF Falcons perform their incredible mid-air manoeuvres all over Britain and Europe, with an exciting line up of events and appearances in the diary for this summer.
Sitting proudly at the forefront of military parachuting, the Falcons are supported by a highly dedicated team of people – regulars, reserves and civil servants – all of whom play critical roles behind the scenes at every spectacular display.
Upon arrival at RAF Brize Norton, we made our way to the Officer’s Mess, which had the homely familiarity of a well-worn Sixth Form common room, and were thankfully offered copious supplies of morning coffee to help fight back the bleary eyes of our early expedition across the country from Norwich. The Falcons were the very definition of welcoming and accommodating as they chatted amongst us, mere hours before they took to the skies.
Next, following a tour of the base and impressive training facilities where the team hone their considerable array of skills, we were treated to a chance to partake in the virtual reality parachuting simulator, an additional training tool for new recruits.
This futuristic technology placed us high amongst the clouds, able to taste a fraction of the immense adrenaline rush experienced when the Falcons launch themselves out of their aircraft. We then converged on the main airfield as we prepared for the mesmerising display.
Falling serenely towards us, the many onlookers below could not have wished for better conditions in which to witness such a stunning spectacle.
However, for the Falcons, the crystal-clear skies and dazzling sunshine only told half the story, as despite the delightful weather, wind speeds were far from optimal, pushing the boundaries of what is considered safe jumping conditions.
The team’s time-honoured red, white and blue canopies thrilled the crowd, forming a technicolour splattering across the bright blue canvas of the Oxfordshire skies above.
For this season, the Falcons are proudly welcoming several new members to the team, each fulfilling a pivotal and dynamic role in the intricately choreographed displays, which demand outstanding levels of technical precision and excellent teamwork.
Staggeringly, upon negotiating a flawless landing, even in the face of such adverse wind speeds, the tight-knit unit appeared relaxed and totally calm as they jogged over to meet the adoring hordes of onlookers, which included several nearby primary schools, members of the local press and of course the team from Outlook Publishing, as we mingled amongst the other sponsors.
There was absolutely no indication that these fearless daredevils had just descended 7,000 feet in just a matter of minutes. Indeed, looking every bit the Hollywood action heroes, straight out of a scene from Top Gun, they posed for a final team photo with a sense of irresistible and effortless cool in their pristine Falcons overalls.
The 2023 season has lift off!