The RAF Falcons parachute display team staged a spectacular aerial carousel routine over Brize Norton to celebrate their 60th anniversary.

The new display is made up of complex manoeuvres designed to thrill spectators during their 2021 display season.

The team underwent intense training in the UK and US for months to perfect their performance which helped them achieve their Public Display Authority, allowing them to start their season.

Among the team was Carterton-born and bred first year Falcon, Sgt Paddy Guillois (pictured), 27, whose childhood dream was to join the parachute squad.

He said: “My initial aspirations were to become an RAF Physical Training Instructor as I enjoyed keeping fit and knew this was something that I would thoroughly enjoy. But my then boxing coach introduced me to an RAF Parachute Jumping Instructor and, as they say, I never looked back.

Witney Gazette: Local lad Sgt Paddy Guillios – first year RAF Falcon. MOD Crown Copyright

I was delighted in 2021 to be offered the opportunity to fulfil my childhood dream. It has been truly amazing and has exceeded all of my expectations.”

His goal is now very much a reality as he takes to the skies under the prestigious red, white and blue canopy of the Royal Air Force.

Formed in 1961, the RAF Falcons, which were formerly known as The Big Six, showcase defence by demonstrating military parachuting capability. The newest aircraft in the Falcons fleet and the primary jump platform is the Dornier 228.

They made their debut display at the Farnborough Air Show and were an instant hit with public.

Witney Gazette: Big 6, exit Farnborough September 1961. MOD Crown Copyright

Big Six, exit at Farnborough, September 1961. MOD Crown Copyright

Sixty years later the Falcons continue to excite crowds throughout the UK and across Europe. Their exciting free fall display includes advanced manoeuvres, falling at speeds up to 120mph, and their famous unique non-contact canopy stack.

Following the routine, the team were awarded their Public Display Authority (PDA) by Group Captain Simon Blackwell, Commander Air Wing.

He said: “The RAF Falcons have once again set an excellent standard to achieve their Public Display Authority today with an outstanding routine that I hope will thrill the thousands of spectators they hope to perform to this year.

“Their achievement is all the more remarkable given the Covid-related challenges they have faced in their work-up season and is testament to their skill as military parachutists.”

Flight Lieutenant Chris Wilce, Officer Commanding RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team, added: “I am immensely proud of all the team members putting in their best possible performance today to achieve our public display authority. We are now extremely excited to perform for you in the coming summer months.”