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29 May 12. Dare-Devil parachutists provided a taste of what’s to come when they dropped in to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. Members of the RAF Falcons parachute display team unfurled a Diamond Jubilee flag as they drifted down to earth from 3,000ft at a special preview of the Royal International Air Tattoo. The world’s biggest military airshow, which will take place on July 7 and 8, is this year celebrating HM the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and a sparkling display of aircraft touched down to publicise this summer’s event. Children’s TV presenter Barney Harwood flew in as the day’s special guest, arriving in style courtesy of an RAF Hawk flown by Fairford-born display pilot Flt Lt Phil Bird. The logo on the flag delivered by the RAF Falcons had been chosen from thousands of entries in a children’s design competition run by the BBC’s Blue Peter programme, and presenter Barney performed the official raising of the flag, accompanied by the Fanfare team from the Band of the RAF Regiment. Five spectacular aircraft touched down at the Gloucestershire airbase, including a Chipmunk with a royal connection – WP903, painted in the bright colours of the Royal Flight, is the actual two-seater trainer aircraft in which Prince Charles learnt to fly – and an RAF Tucano, painted in special Diamond Jubilee livery. A de Havilland Vampire T11, which entered service with the RAF 60 years ago, was also on show, while a US Air Force MC-130 Hercules, operated by US Special Forces, also flew in, symbolising the close links between the airshow and the USAF.

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