||Dunsfold Wings & Wheels Airshow - Dunsfold, Surrey 27th August 2006
Review - History and display flying came together in fine style on
Sunday 27th August at the Dunsfold Wings & Wheels show, held in association with
the nearby Brooklands Museum, at Dunsfold Park in Surrey. Both Brooklands and
Dunsfold are steeped in the earliest of aviation and motoring history, and this
was reflected in the excellent programme, both in the air and on the ground.
The show especially highlighted the achievements and influence of the Hawker
Aircraft Company and Chief Designer Sydney Camm on British fighter design, with
no less than five Camm designed or inspired Hawker types in the air, namely
Peter Vacher's Hurricane MKI R4118/G-HUPW, the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s Sea
Fury FB11 VR930 (sadly a lack of engine starter cartridges kept the Flight’s
Seahawk from making it 6 types in the air), Skyblue Aviation’s Hunter T.7
XL600/G-VETA, which made an impressive pyrotechnic inspired strafing run, and
serving RAF Hawks, including a spirited solo display from a 208 (Reserve)
Squadron machine and a faultless nine ship from the Red Arrows, and, closing the
show, a Harrier GR.7 from 20 (Reserve) Squadron. All types have links to
Dunsfold as the airfield was a test site for Hawker from July 1951, with the
Hawk and P.1127, forerunner of the Harrier, making their maiden flights from
there, while many Hunters also staged through before delivery to customers.
Historical links continued apace throughout the show, the first winged
participant being the Great War Display Team’s Sopwith Pup replica N5199.
Sopwith’s flight sheds were based at Brooklands from 1912 and Sydney Camm joined
the company, by then renamed as H.G. Hawker Engineering, in 1923.
Dunsfold’s Second World War history was also highlighted in the display. From
1943 to 1944 the three squadrons of 139 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force, namely 98
and 180 Squadrons RAF and 320 Squadron Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service, were
based at the airfield. The units operated North American B-25 Mitchell’s in
support of D-Day operations both prior to and during the landings, before
leaving for Belgium in October 1944. Fittingly the Duke of Brabant Air Force’s
TB-25N N320SQ made its Dunsfold debut to mark this. The final historical link in
the air came from the Aces High operated DC-3A Dakota TS423/N147DC which
celebrated the operations of Skyways Aviation who were based at Dunsfold between
1946 and 1950, and whose aircraft, including Dakotas, were heavily involved in
the 1948 Berlin Airlift.
Further aerial interest was provided by the fly-in that preceded the show and
included a variety of classic types. Highlights were two classic racers side by
side, namely Miles Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP and Chilton DW.1 G-AESZ while other
gems included Popham based Rearwin Cloudster G-EVLE and Boeing N2S-3 Kaydet G-AZLE.
The Brooklands Museum also brought some of their own exhibits including Vickers
Vimy FB27 replica NX71MY alongside
Sopwith Camel replica B7270/G-BFCZ and the amazing looking 1909 Demoiselle Type
20 taxiable replica.
For those visitors not satisfied with the fine array of aerial based items, the
‘Wheels’ part of the show saw racing cars and motorbikes, some whose vintage
went back to the 1920s, powering down the runway to help celebrate the 80th
anniversary of the first ever British Grand Prix that was held on the Brooklands
circuit, while a fine display of military vehicles also paraded before the
The Wings & Wheels show, now in its second year, is an excellent example of how
a smaller event can pull out all the stops to deliver something really special
while retaining its intimate atmosphere, at the same time raising money for
back to airshow photographs