2005 Edition

 

 

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Woodchurch Wonders.

40's Spirit
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30's Elegance
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The Wings and Wheels show held at Little Engeham Farm near Woodchurch started from modest beginnings as a private social event for Target Technology (now Meggitts) and is now a fair sized Airshow and historic vehicle show with everything from Traction Engines to MGs. The show is now in it's 17th Year and conitinues to be a highly successful and entertaining affar. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. Photography copyright of Paul Johnson and Michael Rivett.

Sporty Little Numbers
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The War To End Wars
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Cold War Trainers
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Woodchurch's War

Rob Davies' Airfield at Woodchurch is located within 1/4 mile of the original adavnaced landing ground constructed at Woodchurch during World War Two for the United States Army Air Force. In 1943, a pair of RAF Mustang squadrons trialed the base after construction was completed in July. Following the departure of the Mustangs, Woodchurch was upgraded to receive a full USAAF Fighter Group - the 373rd from the 9th Air Force which moved in April 1944 with P-47 Thunderbolts. Woodchurch also became an emergency airfield for stricken bombers with a couple of B-24s landing there after the P-47s had moved to European bases at the end of June and mid July. Following the departure of the P-47s work bagan to deconstruct the Airfield and by 1945 the airfield had returned to agriculture.

It is therefore very fitting that Woodchurch has a strong presence from USAAF aircraft at it's show. Naturally, Rob's P-51D Big Beautifiul Doll takes centre stage along with Maurice Hammond Janie. Joining the "Little Friends" for the second year was B-17G Sally-B

Woodchurch really is a hidden gem amongst the hectic airshow calendar. Held at Little Engeham Farm, home to Rob Davies and his own collection of Historic aircraft, all the proceeds from the show go to charity (The Woodchurch Village Museum and 305 (Ashford) Squadron, Air Training Corps.) On top of a top class flying display and fly-in, there's a small area of traders and a fin fair fair as well as a large collection of historic vehicles from many national and local car clubs. It's a surprisingly large event.

The air display opened with a display from Alan Garside in a PiK-20D glider performing gentle aerobatics over the kent countryside. Sporty types were again well represented with displays from Will Curtis in the Honda Dream Team Sukhoi Su-26M2, Diana Britten in her CAP232EX and a rare display form a solo Yak-52 flown by Tim Boxall who is based at nearby Headcorn.

The Woodchurch show is biased towards the Warbirds and historic military aircraft. The "earliest" in the display were a pair of aircraft from the Great War Display Team - a SE5a replica joined by a Junker CL1 for a tight twisting dogfight and inevitable smoke from the unlucky Junkers! Military trainers took on a major part within the show with examples from the 1930s right up 1950 jets. The earliest trainers on show were the Boeing Stearman from Maurice Hammond in the hands of Dave Evans, the Tiger Club's famous Tiger Moth G-ACDC piloted by Pete Kynsey and the Real Aeroplane Companies rare Miles Magister. Much more powerful 1940's adavnced training was represented by a trio of T-6 Texans/Harvards. Rob Davies and Maurice Hammond displayed their own examples alongside Phil Shaws smoke equipped Harvard which also flew solo. Moving postwar, there was a very welcome trio of Chipmunks displaying under the name of the Red Sparrows. Their display were well flown with accurate formations as well as aerobatics in typical Chippie style. Jet trainers also featured well with Golden Apple's T-33A Silver Star joined by a Jet Provost T3A in a striking ex military scheme.

Tiger Antics

The South East and Kent in particular are synonymous with the Tiger Club. Now based at nearby Headcorn many of the pilots at Woodchurch are members. The Club has a number of display items which included the oldest airworthy Tiger Moth G-ACDC which was joined by Maurice Hammond's Stearman and of course the really quite amazing Turbulent Team who never cease to entertain.

A military role often overlooked by many airshow is liaison and communications. Woodchurch put that to rights with four interesting types representing both sides during the second world war. The Allies were well represented by the Stinson Reliant and Auster AOP5 which flew with the Royal Navy and British Army for liaison and artillery spotting roles. Axis was well represented by the Historic Aircraft Collections Fiesler Storch and James Pittock in the Messerschmitt Me108 Taifun. The latter surprised everyone arriving out of the tree line after it's display at Old Warden.

Heavy Metal world war two types displaying over a small grass airfield is always spectacular, and Woodchurch had a great collection.The Real Aeroplane Company's Hurricane XIIc was joined by it's former stablemate, Spitfire PRXI PL965 now owned and flown by Peter Teichman. However, it was the big American types that stole the show. Last year's 8th Air Force tribute was repeated with Rob Davies and Maurice Hammond joining B-17G Sally-B in their mustangs. However, two major highlights of the afternoon were two big radial engined naval fighters. John Beattie gave an excellent account of the Douglas AD4N Skyraider over Woodchurch coming literally out of the blue. The show finale however was Pete Kynsey flying the Fighter Collection's FG-1D Corsair through an excellent routine making good use of Woodchurch's unique layout. It's always amazing to see such a large and powerful aircraft operated from and displayed over such a tight airfield and arena and was a fitting end to an excellent show. The show is popular with public and enthusiasts for it's unique atmosphere and is fast gaining a national audience rather than being just a local show - you can tell by the queue to get out!!!!  It's really difficult to find fault with this show which is well organised by it's volunteer team.

 copyright Flightline UK 2005