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Dunsfold Wings & Wheels 2018

 

   

"...probably a relaxing break for pilots Jon and Andy who are both full time commercial pilots"

 

The BBC weather up was messing us around again this year, initially  showing heavy rain in Saturday and blue skies on the Sunday, and then at the last minute showing a complete reversal. In the end Mother Nature did came up with a real mixed bag - mostly broken clouds and a spattering of sunshine on the Saturday, and pretty much a wash out on the Sunday.

My understanding is that the schedule for Sunday was thrown out of the window almost before it began, with punters following the news on social media and arriving in droves by 8am to get something from the day. I have been reliably informed that there were several no-shows including the Red Arrows, Vampire Duo, Sally B and the Sea Fury, a few acts did manage to get up including the Bronco, Chinook and the Blades and even an impromptu ballet by Brendan O'Brien in an Otto helicopter.

 

A quote from Nancy Edwards tells me that "Not deterred by the weather, the fantastic duo of Melvyn Hiscock and Brendan O’Brien, were at their best with spoof commentary to a ‘Stealth Aircraft’ display which included a ground shaking pyrotechnics finale. No photos were captured of the aircraft."

Anyway enough about Sunday, this review is about what happened on the much drier Saturday. Before the flying programme got underway we were treated to a parade of jeeps, trucks and tanks from the Military Zone, followed by a high speed motoring demonstration from Brooklands Museum. Amongst the cars and motorbikes racing up the length of the runway were the Napier Railton, a 1000bhp Chevy Camaro and my personal favourite, a Blue Lotus Elise driven by Keith Meredith.

 

The flying display kicked off for the 2nd year running with Brendan O'Brien in his Piper Cub trying to land on the "shortest aircraft carrier in the world"... Last year he managed it on his second attempt but this year... FAIL - 3 attempts but apparently a little sidewind scuppered Brendan's hopes of setting the cub on the back of the trailer. Ah well there is always next year....

Following right behind was a brand new display to Dunsfold in the shape of 2 Vans RV4. The Fireflies as they are known performed admirably with close formation synchronised aerobatics - probably a relaxing break for pilots Jon and Andy who are both full time commercial pilots flying B767 and Airbus A320 respectively.

The Chinook was next up on the agenda swiftly followed by Rich Goodwin in his Pitts bi-plane. I don't know about you but this is one of my favourite displays to photograph and I readily get up into the hundreds of shutter clicks each time while trying to capture something different.

The Pitts high energy and at times gravity defying display wowed the crowds and won Rich a whole host of new fans for sure, and is always in contention for best in show, at least if something else hadn't come along later and caused even more of a stir.
 

Peter Teichman's as always masterly demonstration in the Hurricane was followed by the Tigers Parachute Team trying to land on an X in the middle of the grass, which in turn was closely followed by a Dunsfold Newcomer in the shape of the orange jumpsuited Tony De Bruyn in his OV10 Bronco.

Taken from the Team's own website the Bronco's flying display "intends to show the excellent flying characteristics and agility of the OV-10 Bronco. During the display the short takeoff and landing performance and the maneuverability of the airplane are highlighted. The airplane’s agility allows for the display to be performed in a relatively small “box” right in front of the public, providing continuous entertainment without gaps. A smoke system - using only environmentally friendly compounds - adds an extra dimension to the display."

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight closed the first air segment, which was then followed by motoring part 2...

 
The Tiger Club's Turbulent Team (aka The Turbs) opened up the second half of the flying display with a fun and flamboyant performance of low level barnstorming including balloon bursting, flour bombs and limbo flying - often as low as 3 or 4 feet from the ground.

Dunsfold favourites Sally B came next and was followed up by the Norwegian Air Force Historic Squadrons Vampire Duo and then a solo Mig-15 piloted by Kenneth Aarkvisla, originally due to perform a dogfight sequence with the RN Sea Fury, but was left to demonstrate strafing and bombing runs on it's own at athe last minute.

Not a problem though as the Norwegian Spiftire Foundation's Sea Fury was added to the schedule. Flown by Brian Smith who put in perhaps the best routine of the day in aircraft now nicknamed 'Invincible'. Having seen them so many times over my 30+ years of attending airshows, one could say I had become a bit blase regarding the Red Arrows displays. Perhaps it is Red 10's uplifting commentary or the inclusion of some new and exciting elements in recent years, but I have started to love our national display team again... and do find my heart racing like a lovestruck youth - Long live the Reds!

Mark Petrie as uaual put in a very energetic performance in the repainted Strikemaster, before the Blades Display Team closed the afternoon's flying.

All in all another great airshow and one of my personal favourites which I highly recommend if you like a bit of variety, and if you fancy spending both days at Wings & Wheels there is space provided for onsite camping from 12.00 on the friday until 11.00 on the monday. If you haven't been before DO put this on your list for next year - it really is great value for money. 

   
Review by Airscene
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