Grey Falcons Fall

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Due to the progressive nature of the training, the Team is initially broken down into small groups, consisting of varying experience levels. Group sizes are gradually increased, culminating in the full Team performing high, mid and low altitude displays.

The finishing touches are then introduced with smokes and life jackets being worn and advanced manoeuvres performed. Since , the RAF Falcons have embarked upon pre-season exercises that focus strongly on close proximity free fall flying.

Team members receive a period of prolonged exposure to advanced skydiving techniques. In addition to preparing them for displays, the aim of the training is for each team member to attain the coveted Military Free Fall Instructor qualification. By doing this they gain the knowledge required to provide our airborne soldiers with the best instructors. Full video debriefing allows the team members to assess their performance and improve highlighted areas. This process not only helps develop their skydiving skills but also allows them to identify areas of weakness and improve on them. These are skills fundamental to being good free fall instructors.

The wind tunnel at Bodyflight, Bedford has become one of the RAF Falcons major training facilities over the last three years. The wind tunnel is essentially a concrete structure with air blown from bottom to top at various speeds to enable the training of all different skydiving techniques.


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The RAF Falcons first year members enhance their basic skydiving techniques by planning and completing 4-way formation skydives. There will also be an introduction to back flying and tunnel walking. The RAF Falcons 2nd year members enhance their 4-way formation skydiving. They also attempt to progress from back flying to sit flying which allows them to follow advanced military parachutists at high speed with relative ease. The 3rd Year Falcons consolidate their back and sit flying skills learnt the previous year but mainly concentrate on teaching beginner and intermediate level skydiving troops in the tunnel.

This will prepare them for their future postings after the RAF Falcons. Each individual will have extensively utilised the wind tunnel in order to become a MFFI. Once a meeting has been set up with the RAF representative at the Careers Office you will be assessed for suitability for service life before completing an aptitude test. On successful completion of the interviews all applicants then attend Basic Military Training. Physical fitness, general service knowledge and initial ground defence training are some of the elements covered.

The PTI course consists of several modules including anatomy and physiology, coaching and teaching techniques.

After completing Trade Training, PTIs will complete at least one tour of duty at a station gymnasium, developing their instructional and leadership skills. Following this, the prospective PJIs then undergo an intensive training package consisting of jumping several static line parachutes and learning to teach basic static line parachuting. After serving at least one tour teaching static line parachuting, PJIs are the considered for selection in display parachuting duties. The selection for such duties consists of a continuous assessment throughout the year.

Every jump is critiqued and the individual debriefed on their free fall skills, canopy control and accuracy on landing. Candidates must also complete the High Altitude Parachutist Course before the final selection phase. Prior to selection, candidates must also demonstrate teamwork, leadership and the potential to become military free fall instructors.

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The course consists of up to descents. They will learn and refine the skills required to become a fully qualified RAF Falcon. In addition to the busy display schedule, team members also receive advanced coaching and tuition to enable them to become Military Freefall Instructors. The requirement for PTS is to instruct airborne soldiers undertaking the Basic Parachute Course as beginners and keep those already trained to a high level of readiness to parachute. Females and juveniles are brown or cinnamon with streaking on the breasts. Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer. Golden eagles can be seen in Northeast Ohio flying high overhead during the fall and spring migrations.

Recent research has discovered golden eagles breeding in Eastern Canada. The rough-legged hawk is a raptor of the open country, often seen hovering while hunting for voles in short grass and agricultural fields. A winter visitor from the Arctic, the roughleg can usually be found in Lorain and Geauga counties.

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The snowy owl is a large, unmistakable white owl from the Arctic that is a regular winter visitor to Northeast Ohio, where they hunt during the day for voles and other rodents. Often can be found along the runways at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, where the blustery, snow-blown expanses remind the owls of their tundra breeding grounds.

The red-shouldered hawk is a fairly common raptor of Northeast Ohio woodlands, where it hunts for snakes, frogs, mice, and young birds. A buteo, slightly smaller than our familiar red-tailed hawk. Cooper's hawks are rapidly adapting to suburban and urban life, where they have discovered the bounties of small birds available at backyard bird feeders. An accipiter adapted for navigating woodlands, the Cooper's hawk is fast and agile, allowing them to snatch unsuspecting songbirds on which they prey.

The sharp-shinned hawk is an accipiter, slightly smaller than a Cooper's hawk, about the size of a blue jay. Tail is shorter and squared compared to the Cooper's, whose tail is rounded. Also preys on small birds, and more migratory than the Cooper's. The great horned owl is known as the tiger of the forest, a vicious hunter known to take prey as large as skunks and small dogs.


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  8. Found in all 49 states, Mexico and Canada in the North American mainland. Distinctive call is a series of three to eight deep hoots. Once extirpated from the Eastern U. Nearly a dozen pairs can be found nesting in Northeast Ohio. The fastest creature on Earth, peregrines in a dive can reach speeds in excess of mph as they hunt birds.

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    The merlin is a falcon, smaller than a peregrine but slightly larger than an American kestrel. Passes through Northeast Ohio from its breeding grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the southern U. Preys on birds in flight. Formerly called pigeon hawk. Barn owls are uncommon and declining in Ohio due to loss of habitat in old barns. Best place to see barn owls is in Amish barns in Holmes and Geauga counties.

    Nocturnal hunters, primarily of mice and other rodents. The kestrel is our smallest falcon, frequently seen hovering or perched on utility wires as it waits to pounce on insects, reptiles and small mammals and birds. Formerly called sparrow hawk. A chunky owl with dark eyes, the barred owl is common in dense woods near river bottoms and swamps in Northeast Ohio. Distinctive call is a series of loud hoots often described as "who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all.

    The broad-winged hawk is a small buteo of the Eastern U. Huge kettles of migrating broad-wings can be observed as they pass around the eastern and western ends of Lake Erie, and as they follow the East Coast toward their South American wintering grounds. The long-eared owl is slender with long, close-set ear tufts, and much smaller than a great horned owl.

    It's an uncommon winter visitor to Northeast Ohio, where it roosts in conifers during the day.

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    A reliable spot to find them in past winters has been the stands of pines in Lake and Lorain counties, and at the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve. Northeast Ohio's most common raptor, the red-tailed hawk populations have exploded in recent decades, with these recognizable buteos perched along highways and soaring over suburban neighborhoods.