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Dunsfold Wings & Wheels 2016

 

   

"...isnt everyone after that perfect shot of the Gypo Break nowadays?"

The first order for today is to praise the Dunsfold management team for resolving the parking and traffic problems which had dogged the event for the last couple of years. Two years ago the issue was with inbound traffic to the airshow, with queues backed up on two of the main roads in. Last years issues saw tempers fraying quite considerably as vehicles struggled to find a route off the airfield - some reported taking almost 2 hours before they reached the gate.

This year thankfully saw no major issues, whilst there were some small hiccups as some visitors rushed to the gates en masse at around 4.30, the majority of visitors seemed to reach the road outside in around 5 - 10 minutes thanks to new traffic measures put in place.

So on with the show... This years Wings & Wheels kicked off much to my delight with a VC10 fast taxi up and down the runway. The VC10 is my favourite big jet and always gets me excited - it was the first plane I flew on. At this point I should probably provide some remarkeable insight into service life, but alas I was only 6 months old and travelling with mum to Hong Kong to join dad who was stationed out there. Still - it's enough for me knowing I have been on one!

Following on from the Vickers was the Dunsfold military vehicle parade consisting of jeeps, lorries, and a whole host of other military paraphernalia. A good look around the military zone (where these vehicles were stationed for the day) and you will find the owners (and I assume friends) mostly wearing authentic uniforms and stood around in purpose built camps.

 
 

Before the Airshow proper got off the ground, we were treated to a mini Radio Controlled airshow. Kicking this off were the Reds Duo UK father and son team Steve and Matt Bishop (current Model Aircraft World Champions) pulling off several manoeuvres even the Real Reds would be proud of.

To round off this segment were a 3d heli display which aptly demonstrated skills at mowing the grass, and finally and a bi-plane duo, which was equally well received, particlularly by those front and centre of the crowd line.

 

Shortly after midday the Red Arrows put in their appearance coming in over the crowd from the south in Wall formation before reorganising themselves into their trademark 9 ship diamond and performing rollbacks...

I do recall going through a phase for a few years (as so many others I know) where I didn't want to stay and see the Reds if their were scheduled to appear at the end as it just seemed so very mundane. Lately I am pleased to say they are back on top of the billing, due in a big part to some of the more dynamic elements of their display routine... isnt everyone after that perfect shot of the Gypo Break nowadays?

Don't you just hate it when your transport breaks down and you have to go begging your mates for a loan of theirs? That's exactly what Peter Teichman had to do in order to fly his Hurricane display this weekend - what it must be like to have friends like Peter's.... now if anyone has a Hurricane, do get in touch! :)

Peter's display was up to his usual high standards, however for many of the togs out there without 600mm f2.8 glass, the weather could have been a bit kinder - grey clouds and moisture in the air was the order of the day for much of the first half of sunday's flying program.

 

Gerald Cooper Xtreme Air and the Jet Provost T5 were both great to watch and offered a little bit of contrast against the moody Surrey backdrop, but I do wish The Blades were still orange - awful to photograph against a dark sky!

 

The Tigers parachute display team rounded off the first half, whereupon the cars came out to play (it is Wings & WHEELS after all)...

In addition to a Wheels Parade (picture below) over 200 sports cars, super cars, hyper cars and motorbikes raced along the length of the runway for around 45 minutes (each vehicle doing 3 laps apiece). It could be argued that the cars were a little far away, but they were still quite a sight to behold - not to mention the noise of the V6's and V8's growling as they raced along.

The second half of the flying display saw the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron's Vampire pair perform for the first time at Dunsfold along with the Buchon, B17, Mustang, Royal Navy Black Cats and the Dakota, but undoubtedly the highlight for many came right at the end with Mark Long in the Typhoon.

The weather wasn't looking too great at this time and it was touch and go as to whether the display might end early, so the plan was for Mark to come in closer to Dunsfold and have a look at the weather before deciding whether to continue... For a good minute or two the Typoon could be heard like a distant rumble of thunder as Mark got his eyes on to see if he should abandon or not - much to everyone's delight he soon came screaming in from the west before banking northwards.

No doubt many photographers got the shots of their dreams during this display as the Typhoon is a veritable cloud generator, and it's high speed, high G turns continuously reduced the air temperature around the aircraft to below dew point - unfortunately it turned right in front of me, and I was left wishing I had been sat at crowd left... damn!

 
 

The final display of the day came from a BBMF fighter pair which nicely rounded off a decent mixed bag for 2016.

Those who attended on the saturday were unfortunate in that the Red Arrows were grounded due to very bad stormy weather at Brize Norton, and with the sunday almost coming to an abrupt end (only the Turbulent Team like the rain it seems) - it is worth bearing in mind that this event is over 2 days and there is on site camping available. This makes sense if you do enjoy both the Wings and the Wheels elements, as there is plenty going on for fans of both.

Dunsfold is an absolute gem in terms of entertainment and makes for a cracking day out (or two) for pretty much the whole family. Well done to Jamie and the team on another great show and fingers crossed that Dunsfold doesn't get sold off for urban development any time soon and we can all return next year.

Review by Airscene
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