and well... more donuts!
Wings and Wheels truly does have something for everyone, and
perhaps it is because of this, that I went away with mixed feelings.
Overall, it is a great day out, one which I am happy to recommend
but "Car Fest" it is not. Personally I prefer the
Wings over the Wheels any day, however I have visited Goodwood's
"Festival of Speed" once or twice, and my car side
looks at Dunsfold and says "I Don't get it!".
I am being too critical, but you have a small enclosure where
(if you are one of the lucky 300 or so people who can fit around
the 2 sides) you will see a small handful of classic cars and
Hot Rods doing donuts, and well... more donuts! When you consider
that just a few years ago Dunsfold had crowd figures around
23,000 over the 2 days - there isn't really a lot of room for
an audience, and this is perhaps why the majority stayed sat
on the chairs hogging the crowd line all day.
throughout I saw a variety of cars doing laps up the main runway
and back down the taxi-way, but all around 200 meters away from
you - not much of a spectator event to be honest.
I don't know if there is room but perhaps a larger arena? Also
a lot of space wasted with cars (thinking specifically of the
Ford Escorts and Focus') which did not have that much attention,
and could have been put to better use. That said, the ww2 re-anactors
were great - I would rather see more of this than rows and rows
of cars that many people don't want to look at.
I digress - the main reason for Airscene attending Dunsfold
was of course the airshow. With the promise of the previous
days poor weather clearing later on, the airshow got off to
a "slow", albeit promising start with the Jet Provost.
Dan Arlett put in a tight but exciting flat display which included
barrel rolls, aileron rolls, dumbell wingovers and a fast pass
at over 400 knots. Cloud levels (and later on the proximity
to Gatwick airspace) would hamper the displays but the pilots
did everything they could to keep us all entertained.
its desert camouflage paint scheme to commemorate the 70th anniversary
of 72 Squadrons Spitfires during the North Africa campaign;
the Tucano took off next piloted by Fl Lt Andrew Fyvie-Rae.
Elementary flight training for the RAF begins in the Grob Tutor,
followed by 130 hours in the Tucano which is described as an
ideal lead-in to the Hawk T1. With a maximum speed of 300 knots,
a climb rate of 4,000 ft per minute and able to operate at 30,000
feet - the Tucano was the perfect replacement for the Jet Provost,
particularly because of its greater fuel efficiency. Andrew
more than adequately showcased what the plane can do - not only
did it look like a Spitfire, it moved like one too.
up should have been the B25 Mitchell Bomber (For the guys -
made famous in the Doolittle Raids, following a Japanese raid
on US soil. For the ladies - the aircraft flown from the deck
of an aircraft carrier at the end of that full on love story
with an annoying bit of fighting in the middle "Pearl Harbour")
however shortly after getting airborne reported problems with
the undercarriage and had to abandon the display for safety
of the highlights of the day was the appearance of "Red
Duo" - a pair of quarter scale RC Hawks in, you guessed
it, Red Arrows paint scheme. "Piloted" by Steve and
Matt Bishop - the duo emulate the real Red Arrows synchro pair
with crossovers, breaks and some pretty tight formation flying.
From a distance it's hard to believe these are models, and the
lads even got a formation thumbs up from the real Red Arrows
who had wondered over to see what all the fuss was about - well
done lads! If you wanna see what all the fuss is about, check
out Matt and Steve's video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xYBBpNuur4
I promise I won't gush, but the Breitling girls are lovely (in
a flying display way I mean) and the planes aren't bad either.
I am sure many of us wouldn't want to strap ourselves on top
of a Boeing Steerman while doing loop the loops and barrel rolls
at 150mph, but these girls do it all the time. If you do want
to have a go you can of course for just £399 - visit http://www.aerosuperbatics.com/beawingwalker
to have a go.
commentator made a comment that you can tell how happy a wingwalker
is by the number of flies on her teeth, so it must be fun -
they are always smiling. Maybe I will have a go, if anyone wants
to buy me a surprise gift voucher. Oh and Danielle got applause
from the crowd for her latest "move"... Danielle,
you only need to turn up to get applause.
FX put in an appearance, wowing the crowds with a roll-on-tow
at around 75ft above the runway - I have only ever seen this
performed high over the sea at Bournemouth, so this was quite
unbelievable (a lot of gasps could be heard) - I do wonder sometimes
what these guys have in their sandwiches?!
Teichman from Hangar 11 put in a beautifully smooth display
in his Hurricane mkIIb (the only flying example in the world)
making it all seem so effortless. Considering Peter has only
been flying the Hurricane since it's restoration was completed
in 2009, he knows how to showcase it's capabilities, and this
display is regarded as one of the best on the display circuit.
had a good mix of flying displays which included The Blades,
The Red Arrows, BBMF, RN Historic Flight, and the list goes
on - I did miss some as I went to check out the "wheels"
displays and get myself some food (YES - MORE DONUTS!) - but
did manage to catch glimpses of the flying as I wondered between
the cars and the various stalls selling their wares.
stand-out performance for me was the RAF Chinook, which never
fails to impress... To describe the Wokka's display as an aerial
ballet is a bit of an understatement, with pirouettes and pedal
turns, 360 degree rotations and nose down quick stops.. phew,
exhausted just typing that - the display is breathtaking to
say the least. The Chinook seems to be receiving more awards
for "Best Solo Display" lately, and long may this
continue - at least we can then be assured of her continued
presence on the circuit.
though the crowds knew what they had come for... the Vulcan
Bomber (engines ripping the skies apart) and the Typhoon were
the clear favourites - both getting a big round of applause
and cheers from the crowd. Following the Typhoon display many
did begin to leave, seemingly not wanting to wait around for
the Apache display - a shame, however I admit I did join them...
my sat nav does have a tendency to show I am pointing North
when in fact I am driving South - did not really want to be
doing laps around Dunsfold 2 hours later.
summary - Wings & Wheels is a great family day out, there
are a few elements of the "wheels" section which perhaps
need looking at, but limited airfield space and airshow regulations
mean there probably isnt a lot that can be done. With the exception
of one or two members of "the press", who seem to
take themselves far too seriously sometimes, the team at Dunsfold
seem to have kept a smile on the faces of it's visiting public.
If you are looing for a family day out next year, you can't
go wrong with this one.