Falcons team is ready to thrill at Sunderland International Airshow

The RAF Falcons Display Team who are performing at the Airshow.
The RAF Falcons Display Team who are performing at the Airshow.
Have your say

A WORLD-FAMOUS display team is preparing to take to the skies at this weekend’s Sunderland International Airshow.

North East servicemen will also be among the RAF Falcons Display Team who perform amazing stunts thousands of feet in the air.

Sergeants Gary Nicholson and Matt Thomas are both set to be part of the team who will carry out the amazing stunts.

The Falcons have enjoyed a long and distinguished history as one of the premier display teams in the world. 

Formed in 1961 by six parachute jump instructors from No.1 Parachute Training School, the team was affectionately known as The Big Six as most of the members were shorter than 5ft 6in.  The team trialled different ways of exiting the aircraft, initially jumping from the Blackburn, Beverley and Hastings aircraft. 

They made their debut at the Farnborough Air Show in 1961.

Their displays made them an immediate hit with the public and the demand became so overwhelming that in 1965 it was decided to increase the size of the team to 12 men. 

At this point, the team was renamed the RAF Falcons, taking the name from the bird of prey which represented their displays.

As well as the change in name, the Falcons have also changed their displays over the time. 

In addition to completing displays there is a requirement for team members to qualify as military freefall instructors and high altitude instructors by the end of their three-year tour. 

During their time on the RAF Falcons, each team member will accumulate more than 1,000 jumps, many of which are on training detachments across the world.

To find out more about events taking place at the airshow this weekend, call 553 2000/2001, visit {http://www.sunderlandevents.com,www.sunderlandevents.com,Click here to visit the Sunderland Events website} or follow the latest updates on Twitter: #sunderlandairshow or search Facebook for Official Sunderland International Airshow 2011.

Follow Echo reporter David Allison on Twitter