THE British Army Tigers Parachute Display Team say Bournemouth Air Festival is “probably their favourite event” of the year.

Formed in 1986, the team has been jumping around the world for more the three decades, so it is quite an accolade.

This year the team, made up of members of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, is being sponsored by the Daily Echo.

Bournemouth Echo:

Lance Corporal Chris Smith said: “We would like to say a big thank you from the Tigers to the Bournemouth Echo for sponsoring us. Obviously, if it wasn’t for you guys we wouldn’t be able to be here.”

The team, which jumped yesterday, also marked the launch of the tenth anniversary festival on Thursday. However, their display jump scheduled for later that day was put off until later in the afternoon after a sudden rain storm broke out over the beach.

Chris told the Echo: “As we were coming in a big band of rain came through right over the top of the landing area, so we had to go back and land.

“Luckily, they found another slot for us at 1700 hours.

“When we came in the second time it was perfect weather.”

Chris explained they could jump in the rain but it is not ideal for their kit. What they do need for a display to take place is to be able to see the ground from 1,500ft. Also, the wind has to be under 20 knots

Chris said: “Bournemouth is probably our favourite event, it is one of the last ones we get to do and it is the biggest crowd we get to jump in front of.

“We get the best reception and feel the most welcome. It is definitely one of our favourites. It is the one we look forward to all year long.”

Chris says when they first leave the aircraft they’re hitting speeds between 60 and 80 knots. But the free fall jumpers will reach speeds up to about 120mph,”

“The guys that link their parachutes together deploy their parachutes straight away,” he said. “They will be in free fall for about 25 seconds, deploying their parachutes about 15 or 20 seconds before they would hit the ground.

“We also have computer chips designed to activate our reserve parachutes at 750ft. That is two or three seconds before you’d hit the ground, but that would save your life.”

The Tigers are scheduled to display today at 1.50pm.