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The Russians are Coming
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The Tigers!!!
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Heros and Film Stars
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Local Heritage
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Dunsfold has strong links with aviation and motorsport. It's home to Formula Woman and of course a popular motoring TV show. 2006 saw the return of Wings and Wheelsn late August The show is held in support of Brooklands Museum, Cranleigh Village Hospital, CHASE and Surrey Community Foundation. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports the home of the Harrier and Hawk. All Photography copyright Paul Johnson/Flightline UK.

Pride of the Nation
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Day Visitors
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Their Finest Hour
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Utterly Butterly
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The 2005 Wings and Wheels had been warmly received by many people. The 2006 built on that success without trying to radically change the event too much. The show is run in order the benefit local charities, one of which is the Brooklands Museum, hence the strong link between motorsport and aviation. The two different spectacles are combined to make for a full days entertainment with a Fly-in followed by two motorsport demonstrations on the runway and two air display segments. On the ground both Dunsfold Park and Brooklands Museum put together interesting ground exhibits.

Dunsfold Park pulled out two Hawker Products from their collection, a Hawker Sea Hawk and a BAE Systems Sea Harrier FA2. Both aircraft will go into a heritage centre which is at the centre of plans to redevelop the aerodrome along with a Hawker Hunter T7 and other exhibits. Also on static display was a Douglas DC-3 which is currently in store at Dunsfold. "The Spirit of Adventure" was formally based in South Africa and used for Safari and pleasure flights.

The Fast and the Furious

In between flying displays, Dunsfold's runways played host to some fast cars and bikes. Dunsfold is no stranger to such speed being home to BBC's Top Gear and Formula Woman. Many of the cars and bikes were historic vehicles but there were also some modern supercars as well. Mercedes Benz had a good collection of vehicles promoting their new Mercedes Benz World at Brooklands. Commentating on motoring events were Stuart Bennett, Allan Robinson and Tiff Needell, so there were plenty of quips about Top Gear!

Also on show was the Boeing 747-236 than arrived prior to last years show. Visitors can be forgiven by being confused by this aircraft as it now sports a rather odd layout with what looks like two engines mounted on it's inner engine mounts and fuel tanks on the outer mounts. This "make-over" was done by aviation engineers for the forthcoming "Casino Royale" James Bond film starring Daniel Craig which will be released later in the year in which Dunsfold is made-up to look like a Cargo handling area of Miami International Airport!!!

Brooklands too had an impressive collection of aircraft spearheaded by the remarkable Vickers Vimy 19/94 replica. Brooklands announced at the show that they had acquired the replica and that it would be kept airworthy for a couple of years before retiring to their Weybridge site. Hopefully she should be able to fly there if a grass airfield is built as part of Mercedes Benz's redevelopment of the former airfield site. Also on the Brooklands stand were their Camel Replica and Bleriot XI.

The flyin was particularly good and varied with many different vintage aircraft turning up. There were many different examples of Austers, Tiger Moths as well as some rarities such as a Miles Hawk Speed Six, Miles Gemini and a little Cri-Cri. Also on static for the day was a RAF Hercules C5.

Commentary Double Act

Dunsfold's commentary team are one of the best at any airshow. Melvyn Hiscock and Brendan O'Brien (pictured) have an sea of knowledge of aircraft history, flying skill , quirky stories and good old enthusiasm that just add up to make their commentary on proceeding just as enjoyable as the displays themselves. However, it wasn't all smooth running as Brendan called the Marlin a Royal Navy helicopter - something he probably won't be allowed to forget in a hurry!!!

The main flying display opened with the Tigers Parachute Display Team from the Princess of Wales' Regiment. Jumping from the Chinook the team put on a spirited display of parachuting. First aircraft into the air was the Great War Display Team's Sopwith Pup flown by CAA Test pilot Dan Griffiths. This replica was built mostly by Brendan Goddard who sadly died before it was complete. Powered by a Warner Scarab, Brendan's widow saw the replica finished and it first flew in late 2004. This replica started a number of displays that illustrated the history of aviation at Brooklands and Dunsfold which revolves around Hawker Aviation and BAE Systems. Continuing that theme was the Royal Navy Historic Flight's Hawker Sea Fury FB11 in the hands of Paul Stone, perhaps Hawker's finest piston engined fighter. Much more famous of course is the Hawker Hurricane I. It was Peter Vacher's aircraft that performed at Dunsfold on what would turn out to be a very busy afternoon. Stu Goldspink also displayed the aircraft at Little Gransden in Cambridgeshire before returning to Dunsfold for a his display.

There were of course some of the very best acts from the UK and european circuit at the show. Aerobatics aplenty came from displays with a distinct russian flavour. Will Curtis made the short hop from Biggin Hill to display the Team Road Angel Sukhoi Su-26M2 to great effect while the Aerostars gave a fine team performance in their six Yak-50 aircraft. Make a welcome debut at Wings and Wheels were the Utterly Butterly Barnstormers who certainly grabbed Brendan O'Brien's attention if not the entire crowd!

Red Alert - He's behind you!!!

So far this season, we haven't given the Reds much attention. Despite heavy air traffic restrictions from nearby Gatwick, the Reds still manage to show the Dunsfold crowd just why they're the best in the world with a crisp display of formation aerobatics and the dramatic second half. A new face for the team commentary this year is Flt Lt Andy Robins who has brought his own unique style to the commentary. Unfortunatly, just after their display, a small aircraft invaded their airspace leading to unscheduled gap before they returned to land.

The RAF brought three of it's most popular display acts. Despite not operating from the airfield, Flt Ly Daz Mackenzie put on a polished display in the Shorts Tucano T1 representing RAF training in the present day. Dunsfold was also lucky enough to host both of the RAF's popular helicopter displays. As mentioned earlier, the Chinook HC2 had already dropped the parachutists, but it's display is certainly an attention grabbing feature of any air display with the crew really throwing the large helicopter around to great effect. The Merlin HC3 also puts on a great display despite being another large helicopter. The Merlin's ability means that demand for the type is high in theatre and by the time of Dunsfold, No 28(AC) Squadron were on their fourth deployment to Iraq.

Dunsfold has it's own history away from Hawkers as it has a rich wartime and military history. During the Second War World three squadrons of B-25 Mitchells were based at Dunsfold including Dutch 320 Sqn. How appropriate was it then to see the Dutch based Duke of Brabant example over the Surrey landscape at Dunsfold. Also appearing was Aces High's C-47 Dakota. After the second world war Skyways moved in and were heavily involved with the Berlin Airlift with aircraft like the Dakota. They also ran several charter operations with aircraft such as Avro Yorks, Lancastrians and De Havilland Doves.

With the introduction of the jet, Sir Sydney Camm and Hawker moved swiftly to design jet fighters. Surely the most beautiful of these is the Hawker Hunter first flown at Dunsfold! Brian Grant brought T7A G-VETA into the Dunsfold for the show and combined his usual elegant display with some airfield attacks complete with pyrotechnics.

Finishing off the Hawker and Dunsfold were three displays from the Royal Air Force. It was in 1974 that the first Hawk T1 took off from Dunsfold in the hands of Hawker test pilot Duncan Simpson. That aircraft, XX154 is still in operational use from the QinteQ airfield at Boscombe Down. Deliveries commenced after two years of testing with two aircraft (XX162 and XX163) arriving at 4FTS at RAF Valley. Ever since then the Hawk has been amazing success story. Displaying the Hawk at Dunsfold was Martin Pert, the RAF's youngest display pilot from 208(R) Squadron. Closing the afternoon's flying progamme was the BAE Systems Harrier GR7 from 20(R) Squadron in the hands of Sqn Ldr Pete Keenlyside. The GR7 of course traces it's roots back to the P1127 tested at Dunsfold by Bill Bedford. Until 2000 Harriers were built and tested at Dunsfold so it really was a case of "returning home" for the two Harriers that arrived into the Dunsfold circuit to close the days flying.

Dunsfold once again provided an excellent day of entertainment in the air and the ground. The show is certainly a highlight of the 2006 season as a whole thanks to a unique theme centred around a rich heritage and slick execution by all those involved.

Many thanks the Gerry Forristal, Simon Ames and Francois Prins for their hospitality at the show.

 copyright Flightline UK