Dunsfold Wings and Wheels 2017
26th - 27th August 2017
The BBMF Lancaster will be accompanied by 2 Spitfires
A first class air and car show with plenty of variety for the whole family, including an action arena, extensive vintage military 'village' with vehicles and re-enactors, vehicle zone, nearly 2 hours of vehicles on the track and lots of period entertainment.
The 'wings' part of the airshow includes air displays totalling over 4 hours each day featuring a mixture of civilian and military aircraft, with a good variety of WWII and modern types.
This year Dunsfold Wings and Wheels is one of only five shows in the UK to get the Apache display. Expect lots of action and plenty of noise as they go through a role-play demo including pyrotechnics, ending with a spectacular finale when the Apache hovers in front of a wall of flame. Another rarity on the airshow circuit is the Chinook, which will display at only eleven public airshows in 2017 and again Dunsfold is one of those few. Add the Red Arrows, Typhoon and the astonishing Rich Goodwin and the show offers one of the most tempting schedules in the 2017 calendar.
A highlight of the 2016 show, which is being repeated at 9.30 on Sunday in 2017, is a ground-run of Brookland's VC10.
The flying list is in the table.
The 'wheels' element includes a parade of vintage and military vehicles close to the crowd line and more distant runway demonstrations of historic and modern supercars and bikes. This year's military vehicle element also includes tank firing.
There are also trade and wings and wheels related stalls, rides and amusements.
Show unaffected by development proposals
Despite the decision to develop the aerodrome, the preparatory stages will take quite a while. Wings and Wheels 2017 will not be affected.
Dunsfold airfield was built by the Royal Canadian Army in 1942. It was originally an emergency airfield and sometime home to B25s, Mustangs, Spitfires and other WWII craft. Following the war, the airfield was a repatriation centre which handled over 47,500 prisoners of war and also played a part in the Berlin airlift in 1948/9.
The airfield was involved in the development of the Harrier, Hawk, Hunter and other aircraft when it was owned by Hawker Aircraft Company Ltd (now part of BAE systems), but after nearly 50 years of Hawker / British Aerospace history,it was finally closed in 1999.
The aerodrome is currently a private unlicensed airfield, part of an industrial estate, a location for practice flights by the Chinook amongst others and home to 'Top Gear'.
|Aircraft (All both days unless noted)
|Due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)|
||Chinook (Saturday only)|
||BBMF Lancaster with 2 Spitfires|
|Richard Goodwin 'Muscle' Pitts|
|RotorSport Calidus Autogyro|
|Auster, Beaver, Sioux and Scout from the Army Historic Aircraft flight|
|B-17G 'Sally B'|
|Spitfire (Aircraft Restoration Co) |
|Hispano Buchon (Aircraft Restoration Co)|
|P-51D Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle'|
|P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen'|
|Piper Cub: Brendan O'Brien|
||Tigers Parachute Display Team|
|Also, Reds Duo (RC model aircraft)|
|Additionally the following are due to be on static display, but are not flying during the show|
Royal Navy Wildcat
RAF Hawk T2
RAF Tucano (2)
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
Rain didn't stop play at Dunsfold Wings & Wheels 2016
B-17 Sally B and B-25 Sarinah on Saturday
A B-25 and B-17 pairs take-off and VC10 fast taxi were just two of the highlights of this Bank Holiday weekend show at Dunsfold Aerodrome.
Despite tricky weather over the weekend, virtually everything left on the programme flew; the exceptions being the Scout from the Historic Aircraft Flight, which became unserviceable, leaving their Sioux to display on its own, and Peter Teichman's Hurricane, which was also unserviceable but was replaced by Peter flying Mk1 Hurricane P2921, borrowed from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.
Unfortunately, there had already been several other cancellations (see the table) and much of the RAF involvement this year had been curtailed because of the withdrawal or shortened season of teams. Nevertheless, Wings & Wheels still got the Red Arrows, the Typhoon and a BBMF Spitfire pair, as well as the Royal Navy's Black Cats. These UK military displays were all booked to fly both days, and most did, although the Red Arrows were unable to reach Surrey on Saturday because of a vicious storm at Brize Norton.
This was one of the few shows to feature both the B-25 and the B-17. A true bonus was seeing these two WW2 bombers in the air together. On Saturday they performed a pairs flypast. On Sunday there was no flypast, but they did take off together. Another unscheduled bonus was a flypast by a Puma from RAF Benson on Saturday: a single, brief flypast, not as flamboyant as the flypast at Eastbourne earlier in the month, but a welcome surprise nonetheless.
Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle' take-off
Saturday's weather had some brightness but it was dull much of the time. On Sunday the dull conditions dominated, with frequent rain showers. The Turbulent Team probably got the worst of it, not only because their display coincided with one of the heavier showers, but also because they fly with open cockpits. Nevertheless, they battled on and even managed a weekend record number of balloon bursts.
Towards the end of Sunday the cloud was especially thick and low, so the commentators warned that the flying might be at an end before the Typhoon and BBMF Spitfires were due to appear. The sound of the Typhoon above the clouds appeared to confirm that pilot Mark Long had come for a look and everyone assumed that, as we could hear but not see him, he would have to call off the display. In reality Mark did decide to fly the display, which turned out to be one of the best of the weekend, with oodles of 'spluff' and after-burn flare, amply rewarding those in the crowd who had decided not to leave wet and early.
Surprise stars were the Reds Duo: a pair of model Red Arrows planes flown by father and son team Steve and Matt Bishop, carrying out many of the manoeuvres familiar to fans of the full-size version. They are not new to Dunsfold but do seem to pull something out of the hat each time. Last year they saved the day when, in terrible weather, they were the only displays for some while. This year, when the real Red Arrows were unable to display on Saturday, Red 10 - the Red's manager and commentator - became the commentator instead for the mini version, much to his own surprise as well as that of the crowd. As an aero modeller himself he was clearly impressed by the performance of this world champion pair. There were other traditionally-powered and electric-powered models too, but the Reds were the top of the very impressive group.
In a year when vintage jet displays over land have been rather scarce, following the tragic events at Shoreham in 2015, it was especially good to see the Vampire pair from the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron on their Dunsfold debut and Dan Arlett in Jeff Bell's Jet Provost T5.
All displays are listed in the table and most will not be verbalised here but, deserving special note, the Aircraft Restoration Company's Hispano Buchón, flown by Steve Jones, was in its temporary coat, worn for the benefit of the 'Dunkirk' film; the Royal Netherlands Air Force Historic Flight B-25H Mitchell 'Sarinah' also wore a disguise representing the RAF’s 320 Squadron, largely composed of Dutch pilots and based at Dunsfold during WW2, who enjoyed a reunion at this year's show and, unique to Dunsfold, there was a fast(ish) VC10 taxi run on Sunday for those at the show early enough to catch it.
There have been calls for more variety in the flying displays. To be fair there were débutantes at Wings and Wheels 2016, including Sally B and the Vampire pair. We also have to remember that this is a family show, so regulars such as the Turbulent Team and Wingwalkers (although absent this year) are expected in order to please the family part of the audience. Nevertheless, a few changes such as the Wildcats or Team Raven instead of The Blades; a little more foreign participation and more combination flying would be good to prevent the event becoming stodgy for the regular airshow-goer.
Even so, and as always, Dunsfold Wings and Wheels proved to be a first class air and motor show with plenty of variety for the whole family, including runway demonstrations of historic and modern supercars and bikes, an action arena with professional and amateur displays on a variety of bikes, extensive vintage military 'village' with vehicles and re-enactors, a static vehicle zone, lots of period entertainment, charity and trade stalls, rides and amusements - as well as 10 hours of flying over the 2 days.
There were not a huge number of static aircraft (see the table), but a major plus at Dunsfold is that there are invariably interactive statics, that visitors can not only see but also interact with in some way, staffed by helpful personnel. This year there was a RN Mk2 Merlin that visitors could get inside and ask about.
Jet Provost T5
Phenomenal Typhoon display in tricky conditions
Airshows at Dunsfold
There is one airshow a year, invariably over the late August Bank Holiday weekend. Predominantly a show for families rather than an aviation purists, it offers fairground rides, stalls-a-plenty, circus-type antics and a well supported two- and four-wheel static and moving motor show as well as around 5 hours of flying each day: with virtually the same line-up on each of the two days.
|Flying schedule (tap / hover over icon for more detail)|
||Red Arrows (RAF) Sun only. Sat weather-bound at RAF Brize Norton
||Eurofighter Typhoon (RAF)
||BBMF Spitfires (2)|
||Black Cats (RN helicopter display team) |
||B-25 'Sarinah' (RNAF Historic Flight) |
||B-17 'Sally B'|
||Tigers Parachute Display Team|
|Gerald Cooper Xtreme Air|
|P-51 Mustang 'Red Tail' |
||Hurricane BE505, Hangar 11 (Unserviceable. Replaced by BHHH Hurricane).|
||Jet Provost T5|
||The Blades |
||Vampire Pairs display|
|| Scout & Sioux (AHAF) pairs display (Scout cancelled - unserviceable)|
||Aces High DC3|
|VC-10 (Sunday only)|
|Previously listed by show or operator but cancelled or withdrawn before the show|
| Chinook (RAF) CANCELLED withdrawn for rest of season|
|King Air Display Team (RAF) CANCELLED withdrawn from all 2016 displays|
|Dakota ZA947 (BBMF) CANCELLED unserviceable |
|Sea Vixen CANCELLED (damage to starboard flap)|
|Breitling Wingwalkers (Sat only) |
|Boeing 747 (Dunsfold resident)|