• Short Summary

    SINCE TIME BEGAN, MAN HAS STRIVEN TO ESCAPE FROM HIS EARTH-BOUND RESTRICTION AND FLY "LIKE THE BIRDS".

  • Description

    SINCE TIME BEGAN, MAN HAS STRIVEN TO ESCAPE FROM HIS EARTH-BOUND RESTRICTION AND FLY "LIKE THE BIRDS". TO AN EXTENT HE HAS MANAGED THIS -- WITH THE AID OF AIRCRAFT. BUT NOW MAN IS BREAKING FROM HIS SHINY METAL COCOON AND IS FLYING LIKE A BIRD. THIS ACHIEVEMENT IS KNOWN AS "SKY DIVING", OR "FREE FALLING". SOME OF THE MOST SKILLED AT THIS DANGEROUS PAST-TIME ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE PARACHUTE DISPLAY TEAM -- THE FALCONS.

    MEMBERS OF THE TEAM SPEND MOST OF THEIR WORK-A-DAY WEEK TRAVELLING THE WORLD AND JUMPING OUT OF AIRCRAFT. ALL ARE INSTRUCTORS FROM THE RAF'S AIR SUPPORT COMMAND PARACHUTE TRAINING SCHOOL.

    SINCE THE FORMATION OF THE FIRST REGULAR RAF FREE-FALL PARACHUTE TEAM IN 1961, DISPLAYS HAVE BEEN GIVEN AT 120 MAJOR PUBLIC AIR SHOWS IN MANY COUNTRIES.

    THE CHOICE OF NAME FOR THE TEAM WAS NOT DIFFICULT. ORNITHOLOISTS HAVE DESCRIBED THE FALCON'S CHARACTERISTICS AS "A LONG GLIDE ON EXTENDED PINIONS... FALLING EXTREMELY RAPIDLY... MUCH GIVEN TO AEROBATICS AND SWIFT, STOOPING FLIGHT." APPROPRIATELY, THE TEAM'S MASCOT IS A FALCON.

    FREE-FALL REPRESENTS THE PEAK OF PARACHUTING TECHNIQUE. THE CONTROL EXERCISED BY THE TEAM MEMBERS WHILE FALLING FOR TWO MILES AT SPEEDS RANGING FROM 120 TO 130 MILES-AN-HOUR AND THE PRECISION OF THEIR LANDINGS DEMANDS THE ULTIMATE IN SKILL AND CONCENTRATION. THEIR ABILITY AND SKILL ALSO INSTILLS CONFIDENCE IN THEIR PUPILS AT THE PARACHUTE TRAINING SCHOOL.

    FREE-FALLING IS THE CLOSEST MAN HAS EVER COME TO FLYING. HE CAN EITHER SWOOP STRAIGHT DOWN TOWARDS THE GROUND OR BY USING HIS ARMS AS AILERONS AND LEGS AS A RUDDER, HE CAN SWOOP ACROSS THE SKY AT LATERAL SPEEDS OF 40 MILES-AN-HOUR. IN ONE MINUTE'S FREE-FALL IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A MAN TO COVER A HORIZONTAL DISTANCE OF MORE THAN 1000 YARDS.

    THE DISPLAY PATTERN IS DETERMINED BY THE NEED TO CREATE OBVIOUS MOVEMENTS ACROSS THE SKY. THE AUDIENCE IS ABLE TO WATCH THESE MOVEMENTS MORE ACCURATELY BY THE TEAM MEMBERS' USE OF SPECIAL SMOKE CANISTERS ATTACHED TO THEIR LEGS.

    THE SYSTEM NOW MOST POPULARLY USED IS FOR 12 MEN TO LEAVE THE AIRCRAFT WHICH IS RUNNING INTO THE WIND AT 12,000 FEET, IN TWO GROUP OF SIX WITH A TEN SECOND GAP BETWEEN THE TWO GROUPS.

    THE FIRST GROUP TRACKS UPWIND TO A PREDETERMINED OPENING POINT AND THE SECOND DOWNWIND TO AN OPENING POINT SLIGHTLY DOWNWIND OF THE ORIGINAL GROUP. IN THIS WAY, THE TWO GROUPS CROSS BEFORE REACHING 2000 FEET -- THE HEIGHT AT WHICH THEY OPEN THEIR PARACHUTES.

    DURING THEIR "FLIGHTS" THE FALCONS ARE GUIDED BY A SPECIAL GROUP OF MEN ON THE GROUND, RELATING THEIR POSITION AND APPROACH TO THE TARGET AREA.

    THE TEAM USES A SPECIAL TYPE OF UNCONVENTIONAL PARACHUTE WITH A SYSTEM OF COMPLICATED VENTS AND HOLES ENABLING IT TO BE GUIDED THROUGH THE AIR AT 10-12 MILES-AN-HOUR AND GIVING A RELATIVELY SLOW DESCENT.

    EVERY MEMBER OF THE TEAM INSISTS ON PACKING HIS OWN PARACHUTE... IF IT FAILS HE HAS NO-ONE ELSE TO BLAME BUT HIMSELF. THE MEN LOOK UPON THEIR WORK AS "THE SAME AS ANY OTHER JOB". THEY ALSO HAVE THE TYPICAL PROFESSIONALS DISDAIN OF THE AMATEUR -- IN THIS CASE THE MAJORITY OF AMATEUR PARACHUTING CLUBS WHICH HAVE SPRUNG UP SINCE THEIR "BUSINESS" MUSHROOMED INTO A BOOMING "SPORT".

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA7Y6ET5SY79KN3CYHXOMIWVNZ1
    Media URN:
    VLVA7Y6ET5SY79KN3CYHXOMIWVNZ1
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    30/11/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:05:27:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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