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  Dunsfold Wings & Wheels Airshow - Dunsfold, Surrey 27th August 2007

 


Review -
Visitors to the 3rd Wings and Wheels show at Dunsfold Park, Surrey on Sunday 26th August were blessed with a rare appearance of sunshine and blue skies and a cracking display of aerial action and ground based speed machines.

Dunsfold is synonymous with Hawker aviation, the airfield being a test site for Hawker from July 1951, with the Hawk and P.1127, forerunner of the Harrier, making their maiden flights from there. In addition, many Hunters staged through Dunsfold before delivery to customers. This theme ran through the show with appearances by four different Hawker types. The Historic Aircraft Collection's Nimrod II K3661 G-BURZ displayed in formation with the Collection's Hurricane XII G-HURI, the better weather allowing the Nimrod to fly it's first display away from Duxford since restoration. Closing the show was Jonathan Whaley in Hunter F.58A G-PSST while continuing the Hawker theme into the modern arena was a display from RAF 208 (Reserve) squadron Hawk T.1 XX307 and the ever precise nine Hawk T.1As of the Red Arrows.

The show was well put together with the flying split into two parts with vintage and modern cars and motorcycles thundering down the runway in between the flying underlining the link with the nearby Brooklands Museum Trust. Prior to the display itself a fly-in saw several vintage and modern types attend. The positioning of DC-3 'Spirit of Adventure' in front of Aces High Boeing 747-200 G-BDXJ allowed a great image of these two iconic airliners together, their differing levels of technology underlining the achievements made in the 34 years that separate their first flights (The Douglas Sleeper Transport first flew on 17th December 1935 while the first Boeing 747-100 lifted off on 9th February 1969).

With a highly entertaining commentary from duo Melvyn Hiscock and Brendan O'Brien the show was opened by The Tigers freefall parachute display team dropping from RAF 18/27 squadron Chinook HC2A ZH893 which later gave a very energetic solo display. Upon landing the salute was taken by Dame Vera Lynn. A great mixture of historic, modern and aerobatic types followed with warbird proceedings kicked off by Peter Teichmann in Hanger 11 P-51D Mustang G-SIJJ 'Jumpin Jacques', Peterís display especially appreciated as he was able to fix a minor tech issue that had arisen earlier in the day. Next in line were the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with Lancaster PA474, Hurricane Mk.IIC LF363 and Spitfire PR.XIX PM631. Vintage aircraft then took centre stage in the last segment of the show with the Duke of Brabant Air Force TB-25N Mitchell powering through its display. Then, as the late afternoon sunlight lit the deep blue sky Charlie Brown took to the air in Historic Aircraft Collection Spitfire MkVb BM597 G-MKVB, the Rolls Royce Merlinís distinctive sound transporting the crowd back to the 1940s as the Spitfire wheeled across the sky. The Spitfire then formed up with Jonathon Whaley in Hunter F.58A 'Miss Demeanour' in tribute to Sqn Ldr Neville Duke who sadly passed away earlier this year. Duke flew Spitfire Vs in the Second World War with 92 squadron and, post war, became chief test pilot for Hawker, taking the world speed record in 1953 in specially modified Hunter WB188. Appreciated by all, especially Neville Dukeís widow who was at the show, the formation made several passes before splitting up and allowing the show to be closed by the sound and sight of the Hunter 'Miss Demeanour' ending another excellant display at Dunsfold.

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