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Dunsfold Wings and Wheels 2011



Dunsfolds 2011 show was held over the August bank holiday weekend. It has a unique format in that it runs an auto show along with a 5 hour airshow. This year there were several new additions to the Dunsfolds Wings and wheels display. One new attraction was the stunt arena (sponsored by Ford). The crowd were treated to pirouettes, J-turns and high speed parallel parking maneuvers to name a but a few. Another highlight was the new Hot Rod village. Hot Rods from the past were parked up in front of a stage with live music playing throughout the day. As with most shows, there were plenty of trade stalls to browse too.

The day kicked off at 10.00am with a parade by military vehicles which is a custom of wings and wheels. This was followed at 10.30am, by the first display of the motoring demo. This takes part on the runway with cars of all ages taking it in turns to sprint down the the runway. A highlight for me was seeing the Kremer Porsche 962 Lemans car take to the track. This was a sight and sound to behold, with its 4.0litre turbocharged engine roaring down the tarmac.

The air display started late due to the cancellation of the Red Arrows. This was not unexpected due to the tragic accident at Bournemouth’s airshow a few weeks earlier. As a sign of respect. The organizers read a poem and held a 1 minute silence in honor of Flt Lt Jon Egging (eggman) who sadly was killed whilst on a run and break to land. Another nice touch was a book of condolence which could be signed . This was going to be given to Jon’s family. The silence was broken by the sound of a Merlin engine. Peter Teichmans Hurricane entered from in front of the crowd and he gave a lovely flowing display. I later heard on the rumour mill that one of the Hurricanes undercarriage legs collapsed on taxiing back in at North weald. I believe it was minimal damage and Peter returned later to display again in his Spitfire.

Brendan O Brien’s flying circus is a firm favourite with airshow goers. I personally like the way his show seems to have evolved over the couple of years its been on the circuit. This latest incarnation see’s ‘Captain Bugaloo’ (or Brendan O Brien as he’s otherwise Known!) losing his glasses and his mobile phone. Brendan’s skill in his modified Cub is amazing as he chucks the aircraft all over the sky. The Cub has had the addition of fireworks now fitted to the wings and these are fired during the display. He also lands the cub on a trailer which is racing down the runway at 50mph. Of the 3 attempts of landing on the trailer I can happily say that all were successful. Impressive to say the least!!

This was followed by the Swip Twister duo team. The Silence twister was originally designed as an RC model aircraft, but was later produced as a full size machine. After a great display by the team, came the first of the RAF’s trainer aircraft. The Grob Tutor is used by the Royal Air Force as its elementary flight trainer. The aircraft is particularly maneuverable and is often overlooked at air shows. I do feel sometimes the displays are a little high, but they are always very good. Another great act is the Swift glider team. The glider was towed into the sky by a Piper Pawnee and for the first part, performed aerobatics on the wire. With an amazing 7 rolls behind the Pawnee, they then left to gain height for the second half.

The F-86 Sabre owned by the Golden Apple Trust Took off next and was put through its paces while the Swift team gained height. There were a few lovely topside passes for the photographers and the Sabre looked great against the dark skies whilst billowing the tell tale black smoke produced by the General Electric J47 engine. Upon landing, the Swift glider had gained height and was released for its turn. I was quite disappointed with what I saw on the Sunday. The quality of flying was brilliant, its just that it was over very quickly.

A new unlimited aerobatic aircraft has recently taken to the skies in the shape of Xtreme air’s S-Bach300. I was really looking forward to seeing this aircraft and was not disappointed. Gerald Cooper is the current British Aerobatic champion and is ranked 7th in the world. The display started with Gerald pulling up and hanging in the sky for a good few seconds before climbing again into a series of impressive rolls. The Sbach Is a truly stunning aircraft and with a roll rate of 450 degrees a second plus a pilot such as Gerald, it certainly made for an awesome show. This was definitely my favourite display of the day and probably for a good few years!! His landing was also amazing, and to a huge raptous applause. The Blades continued the aerobatic theme in their Extra 300’s.

To own a Warbird must be a pretty special feeling, but to own 4, well that’s just greedy!! Peter Teichman returned from North Weald in his Spitfire MK XI. He put the spitfire through pretty much the same routine as the Hurricane earlier in the day. A great barrel roll was the perfect finish. He was due to go and collect his P40 for later but that was scrubbed. The BBMF completed the first half of the airshow, making way for another chance to see the cars and bikes racing up the runway.

The second half of the airshow was kicked off with a solo display by a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter. Appearing from crowd centre front, the lynx pulled up into a steep climb before a rudder kick. One of the Lynx’s major assets is its agility. The helicopter landed on the runway and was ‘wheeled ‘ around on the ground to show how useful it is aboard a ship. It then took off into a vertical climb and then a 180 degree wingover before landing. This was followed by Flt Lt Dan Hayes in the RAF’s Fastjet flight trainer, The Tucano. Continuing the airforce’s training aircraft was the display Hawk flown by Flt Lt Jules Flemming. Jules has been exemplary in displaying the Hawk this year and Dunsfold was no different. Starting with a high speed entry, the 1st part was all about speed. I liked her super slow roll, which was followed by a slow dirty pass. With a few more high speed passes Jules put down to allow the Tigers parachute team to drop in.

Two aircraft from the Hawker stable flew together for a unique formation next. Hawker Hunter ‘Miss Demeanor’ and the RNHF Sea Fury FB.11 flew in a nice formation display, taking it in turns to lead. The hunter looked pretty cool against the dark skies. They then split to each do a solo, with Jonathon Whalley first in Miss D. More displays followed by the Tiger Turbulent team, Red bull Matadors and OFMC’s P-51 Mustang Ferocious Frankie.

For the finale, Team Viper flew a Hunter 3 ship. Normally a 5 ship, I’m unsure of the reason why we only got 3 but it was great anyway. I liked the tight formations they flew and thought that the Hunter being synonymous with Dunsfold, It was a great way to end the day. There were a few cancellations to the programme, most notably the ‘Reds’ (for good reason) and the Avro Vulcan XH558. This, I thought did not detract from a great little show. This has been my second Wings and wheels event at Dunsfold and I look forward to the next…..


Review by Neil Darby

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