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Dunsfold Wings & Wheels 2017

 

   

"...I guess he felt he didn’t make contact on the first, but my photos suggest otherwise."

 

For the first time in a few years the weather played ball at Dunsfold Aerodrome, particularly on the Saturday where we saw almost clear blue skies for pretty much most of the day. Some clouds did creep in during the afternoon but it wasn’t ‘grey on grey’ shooting that we had seen in recent years. That and the fact that the mercury was steady at around 21-22 degrees, meant there was no heat haze to contend with and thus kept the aviation photographers very happy indeed.

 
 

Dunsfold really does have something for everyone… for the aviation enthusiasts there is of course the Air Show which is split into 2 sections, a military vehicle parade, a classic car parade and of course a whole bunch of supercars and other sports cars racing along the runway, which if you recall is used for the BBC’s Top Gear – you’re not allowed to forget this and I did manage to get the Stig to pose with some aircrew in the static aircraft area.

 

In other area’s of the airfield were the Stunt Zone (lots of cars doing donuts etc), a two wheeled demonstration by Surrey Youth Motorcycle Trials Club, 747 and DC3 tours and of course plenty of cars to look around. Apparently there was a Monster Truck demonstration, but unfortunately I missed this as I was mainly there to photograph the aircraft.

After the Military Vehicle Parade and the first display of supercars, the air show kicked off with a superb piece of precision flying by Brendan O’Brien in his Piper Cub whereby he successfully landed and then took off from his towed landing strip – he did have 2 attempts as I guess he felt he didn’t make contact on the first, but my photos suggest otherwise.
 

Next up were the Vampire Pair which really do look great against the blue sky and then Rich Goodwin in his Pitts Special doing his trademark tumbles and flips, knife edge run along the runway and even raced Steve Smith in his Hotchkiss. Following on from this was the Hangar 11 Hurricane and then a pretty cool gyrocopter display by Peter Davies, which thanks to CAA Exemption for Crowdline Separation – reduced to 75mtrs, meant we could see the action up close.

 
My personal favourite of the day came up now – the Spitfire and Hispano Buchon operated by the Aircraft Restoration Company. Each took it’s turn to give chase to the other in this re-enactment of a WW2 dogfight, but perhaps the biggest delight was the new ‘temporary’ paint scheme sport by this ME109 lookalike. Painted in the weather desert marking of “Black 8” which was piloted by Leutnant Werner Shroer, a German fighter ace credited with 114 kills, with 6 of those claimed in one single day in September 1942. Rumour has it that the markings will be going back to the previous paint scheme but I do hope this isn’t true – the desert chamo is much prettier and better to photograph as everyone in the press enclosure attested.

Rounding off part one the air show was the B17 closely followed by the Tiger Parachute Team whose canopies really stood out against that deep blue sky. More cars now as we were treated to the classic car parade and the 2nd run of the supercars / sports cars as they sped along in front of us.

The line-up for the afternoon included the Spitfire, Chinook, Apache, Typhoon, Army Historic Flight and of course the Red Arrows. The two highlights for me though were the Strikemaster piloted by Mark Petrie who put in a very energetic performance, and finally the Huey UH-1H piloted by Neil Airey – I’d not seen one display before but have seen plenty of Vietnam films and just love that blade slap and engine whine.

 

If you have never been to Dunsfold Wings & Wheels then do put it on your To Do list for next year. As already stated, there is a lot going on here and a large assortment of food and merchandise stalls plus if you don’t mind roughing it there is an on-site camping area making it easy to stay for both days and thereby get to see everything this venue has to offer. Overall an excellent family day out, especially if the weather holds up – and what better is there to do on an August Bank Holiday weekend?

   
Review by Airscene
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