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At last summer has arrived! After weeks of poor weather a decent dry spell started in time for Dunsfold Wings and Wheels. This show has repaidly become very popular since it started three years ago and the huge crowds early in the day proved that. This year, the flying was more varied than ever with a number of tributes to Dunsfold and Brooklands history and a pick of the best airshows acts around.Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of author.

Eclectic Mix
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Lest We Forget
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Camm's Legacy
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Greens and Blues
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PNorth American Might
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Pick of the Pops
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High Wire
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RAF on show
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28's New Toy

IIn something of a coup for Dunsfold, 28(AC) Squadron brought it's latest Merlin helicopter to Dunsfold, the Merlin HC3A. This helicopter are part of a fleet of six "3A" models bought from the Danish government to help ease the pressure of the Support Helicopter force. The aircraft arrived at Dunsfold wearing RAF markings over the slight metallic Danish Air Force green scheme and made an impressive sight in the static alongside it's Chinook and AB412 collegues.

With the loss of the Redhill Airshow, the Dunsfold Wings and Wheels event is the only airshow in Surrey in 2007. Surrey, and particularly Dunsfold, has a stronf aviation history and many types made their first flights here including the famour Harrier. Few visitors over the weekend would have known that the organisers of Dunsfold was tantalisingly close to securing a rare 2007 flying appearance by one of these aircraft from BAE Warton.

Even though it appeared that summer had arrived, the legacy of the wet summer still had a major impact on the day. The showground was completely saturated by the summer rainfall leaving it very wet and soft. Many traders and early arrivals soon found out how soft as their vans and cars soon got bogged down in the mud. Things got bad enough for the event organisers to open a new gate into Dunsfold to ease congestion which by the end of the morning had reached Guildford!

As always, the day starts with a large fly in of vintage and contemporary aircraft from all round the country. Many of the participants are Dunsfold regulars but there were a few stand out stars. A Cessna Skylane amphibian was perhaps the most noticable arrival with it's large floats which perhaps were very suitable for some of the flooded parts of the airfield. Also grabbing the attention was the Lee-on-Solent based Harvard and a collection of Yak-18T, Yak-50 and Yak-52 aircraft. Still dominating the airfield is the Boeing 747 that was used in the 007 film, Casino Royale.

The Wheels

A unusual feature of Wings and Wheels are the high speed motoring demonstrations on the main runway though such activities are no stranger to Dunsfold. Dunsfold is often used by Mercedes Benz to test and induct new drivers on the locally produced SLR and the runway and taxyways are home to Top Gear's test track, the Stig and the hanger's house the Studio.

Also on the ground was the Vimy 19/94 replica that is now part of the Brooklands Museum collection. It had been hoped the Vimy could fly at the show but it remains grounded until some issues of paperwork can be resolved with the CAA. The Vimy is hangered at Dunsfold along with a number of other general aviation types including Chipmunks and Pitts Specials.

The flting displays were split into two halves and separated by the motoring demonstrations along the main runway. As has been tradition at Dunsfold, much of the flying is centred around the aviation history of Brooklands and Dunsfold itself, though this year there was a greater emphasis on a general airshow. Opning the show show was the Tigers Parachute Display Team from the locally based Princess of Wales Regiment and sponsored by overal show sponsors - Spitfire Ale. They dropped from the RAF's Chinook HC2 which went on to provide the first aircraft display of the day in the capable hands of Flt Lt Dave Traill and his crew from RAF Odiham. The Chinook was one of a number of military displays at the show. The Hawk T1 of course took pride of place at Dunsfold as it was here that the aircraft made it's first flight. It was first seen in it's solo display guise flown by Flt Lt Mike Child before the second half of the show was opened by the nine scarlet Hawks of the Red Arrows. Also making an appearance from the RAF training fleet was the colourfully striped Tucano T1 flown by Flt Lt Bobby Moore who just squeexed a full display in under the constraints on nearby Gatwick Airport's airspace.

Making their Dunsfold debut were the pair of Westland Lynx HAS3 of the Black Cats DIsplay Team. Like their appearances at other UK shows over the summer, one of their aircraft has been in the stunning "Black Cat" scheme. Sadly, the RN Historic Flight was unable to attend the show with either of it's Hawker products.

For the first time at the event, the show hosted a display from a foreign military participant, the Agusta Bell AB412 from the Royal Nethelads

Salute to Neville Duke

We've seen some cracking formations this year but I think this one tops the lot. Charlie Brown in the Spitfire and Jonathon Whalley in the Hunter not only flew  past once but made three passes in close formation and even changed the formation lead - a superb display of airmanship in salute to Neville Duke's career flying which including fighting in the Spitfire V as well as testing the Hunter aircraft.

This year's display featured a strong line up from the world of civilian displays and aerobatics. Making a very welcome return to Dunsfold were the Boeing Stearman and Wingwalkers of Team Guinot. They certainly gave commentator Brendan O'Brien plenty to talk about with their rather excessive smoke! Also returning for possibly the last time was Will Curtis and his Sukhoi Su-26M2 sponsored by Road Angel. The Sukhoi without doubt is one of the world's best air show aircraft and always turns heads wherever it goes. John Taylor gave his first Dunsfold appearance in the B&Q sponsored Extra 300L. However,  the Extra was suffering from a poorly pump in the smoke oil tank so was unable to produce any smoke. Further Extra action came from the Swift Aerobatic Display Team with the Extra 300L flown by Justyn Gorman towing Guy Westgate in the S-1 Swift glider. They arrived on slot direct from the Swift's home base at Southdown Gliding Club to give another demonstration of what gliders and aerobatic aircraft can really achieve. The final piece of "Extra Action" were the four 300LP aircraft of The Blades arriving from a display on the Isle of Wight.

Dunsfold is steeped in history and a there were a number of displays to reflect this. Perhaps the biggest welcome was for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with their full complement of Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster. Dunsfold's own wartime history was well represented with displays by the P-51D Mustang of Peter Teichman and the Dutch based B-25 Mitchell. A special salute to Hawker designs was staged by the Historic Aircraft Collection's Hawker Nimrod II and Hawker Hurricane XIIc which made a number of passes before splitting for some solo display flown by Dave Evans and Dave Harvey. However, Dunsfold really did save the best for last with a special tribute to Neville Duke who used to live on the airfield in a small cottage which still stands when he worked for Hawkers. The tribute saw Charlie Brown and Jonathon Whalley fly a sublime formation with the Spitfire Vb and Hunter F58a through the sunny Surrey skies before performing solo displays to end the day. It was narrated on with a brilliant commentary from Melvyn Hiscock.

It was a wonderful end to a wonderful show which does so much for local charities including the new Surrey Air Ambulence which is based at Dunsfold in purpose built accommodation. With sunny skies the show was a huge success and I hope it returns next year.

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