Dunsfold Wings & Wheels 2019
The last ever show was held on 15th & 16th June
The Red Arrows at Wings 'n Wheels 2019
Once again Wings 'n Wheels was 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, vehicles on the track and period entertainment.
After a long association with the August Bank Holiday Weekend, the show returned to its original June slot for 2019.
The 'wings' part of the airshow included air displays totalling around 5 hours each day, featuring a mixture of civilian and military aircraft. The RAF are excellent supporters of the show and were there in force again this year. Dunsfold is one of only 16 locations to be awarded displays by The Red Arrows in advance of their North American tour and one of only 13 venues to get the Chinook. The Tutor and Tucano were also there in their first year back on the airshow circuit after a short absence and the BBMF managed to get a Spitfire through bad weather to display on both days.
Rich Goodwin, straight into a knife-edge pass
Strikemasters in a menacing sky
Lysander from the Aircraft Restoration Co
The last show at Dunsfold
The days of Dunsfold Wings 'n Wheels have been numbered since the decision to develop the aerodrome. It is now known that the 2019 show was the last. The Event Director, Jamie McAllister, has not put this down to the proposed development but to difficulty 'putting on the best airshow in in the current aviation and economic climate'.
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'.
Highlights amongst civilian displays included the irrepressible Rich Goodwin with his phenomenal display and the pair of Strikemasters offering very close vintage jet formation flying. Enthusiasts were also thrilled to see the ARCO Lysander returning to the airshow scene this year after a long restoration programme. Unusual formations included Sally B flying with Aces High's C-47 'MayFly' and two aircraft from the new 'Ultimate Fighters', their Hurricane and their Thunderbolt, flying together on Saturday.
The 'wheels' element included a parade of vintage and military vehicles close to the crowd line and more distant runway demonstrations of historic and modern supercars and bikes, which all went ahead despite some tricky conditions in the wet.
A list of the flying and static displays is in the table.
|All both days unless stated|
|Strikemaster pair, G-SOAF and G-RSAF, with pyros|
|Supermarine Spitfire (BBMF) (two were listed but one flew)|
|Westland Lysander IIIA V9312 G-CCOM (Aircraft Restoration Company)|
|Grob Tutor (RAF)|
|Tigers Army Parachute Display Team|
|Douglas C-47 Skytrain / DC3 Dakota "MayFly" (Aces High) (flypast with Sally B and display)|
|Boeing B-17G 'Sally B' (flypast with C-47 and display)|
|Gazelle Helicopter pair|
|Hawker Fury Mk 11 G-CBEL (Painted as Sea Fury Prototype) (Ultimate Fighters / Anglia Aircraft Restorations) had a technical problem and was replaced by |
Republic P47 Thunderbolt 'Nellie' (Ultimate Fighters)
(flew with Hurricane P2902 on Saturday; solo Sunday)
|Hawker Hurricane Mk.I (Ultimate Fighters / Anglia Aircraft Restorations) (flew with Thunderbolt on Saturday and with Hurricane P3717 on Sunday)
|G-Force Aeros (Little and Large)|
|P-51D Mustang 'The Shark' (Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)|
|Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 P3717 closed the show on Sunday with another Mk I Hurricane, P2902|
|VC-10 engine run at 11.15 and 14.30 on both days|
|Additionally the following are due to be on static display, but are not flying during the show|
Hawker Sea Fury
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
Dunsfold Wings & Wheels 2018
The Red Arrows Break at Wings 'n Wheels
Dunsfold provides a varied mix of displays although, as is the case at many shows, the core doesn't change a great deal from year to year. At Dunsfold, though, there are generally a few specials, such as local débuts or feature displays, and 2018 was no exception.
This year one of the specials was a very emotive tribute by Peter Teichman in Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar's Hurricane, accompanied by Tom O'Bedlam reading the poem 'High Flight'. The tribute was to the late Duncan Simpson and John Farley, former BAE Systems chief test pilots at Dunsfold, who were involved in the testing of some of the most famous aircraft including the Hunter, Harrier and Hawk but who died during the year since the last Wings 'n Wheels. John Farley was also a former Manager of Dunsfold Aerodrome.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee Jr
Another special was to have been the Westland Whirlwind, but this was a late and very disappointing cancellation, not least because it was probably one of the principal draws for many of the visitors. However another, the re-engined Sea Fury, did give a brilliant display alongside the MiG-15 in a mock battle, enhanced by strafing runs and pyrotechnics, as did Wings and Wheels débutante, the OV-10 Bronco, from its rapid-ascent take-off and throughout its routine, which demonstrated the versatility of the unusual-looking aircraft.
Before the air displays on both days, the Brooklands Museum VC10 announced the opening of the wings part of the show with a engine run.
Other Saturday displays are listed in the table. Notable were the display of the Norwegian Vampire pair with their traditional tight display, Richard 'no-fears' Goodwin, who was as bonkers as always, and another crowd favourite Chinook, which included Dunsfold in the relatively short list of venues that were treated to a display in 2018.
A glorious, if chilly, Saturday gave way to a wet and windy Sunday. To maximise the chance of flying, the programme was brought forward but inevitably there were many cancellations, including the Red Arrows, who couldn't escape from the bad weather at Brize Norton. On the positive side, and despite the weather, there were still flying displays, beginning with the irrepressible Brendan O'Brien who was first into the air with an unscheduled outing in Otto, complete with smoke and fireworks. Take that, British weather!
|Red Arrows (both days)|
||Lancaster and 2 Spitfires|
|B-17G 'Sally B'|
|North American Rockwell OV-10 'Bronco'|
|Westland Whirlwind (cancelled)|
|Hawker Sea Fury T.20 (RNHF)|
|Turbulent Display Team|
|Strikemaster G-SOAF (solo)|
|Tigers Army Parachute Display Team|
Hawker Sea Fury|
Dunsfold's Boeing 747
Aces High DC3
Other stalwarts in the gradually deteriorating conditions were the Fireflies, the Bronco Demo Team, the Blades and the Chinook.
Mark Petrie also made a valiant attempt to display in his Strikemaster and did manage several flypasts but was not able to fly safely in the heavy rain and high winds so aborted the display. The remaining displays also cancelled except one that was only seen by the commentators, Melvyn Hiscock and Brendan O'Brien. Thankfully they were able to describe the mystery 'stealth' aircraft, with pyrotechnics, that was so stealthy it was invisible to everyone else. Whether it was imagination or wishful thinking, it was proof that it was only the ground and not the spirits that were dampened.
The ground displays, military zone and trade stands did endure for a while longer but, as everything gradually closed down in the now-soggy aerodrome, the proceedings came to an early close at around 15.00.
Dunsfold Wings and Wheels 2017
Richard Goodwin races a vintage Hotchkiss at the beginning of his display
Many airshows set out to provide entertainment for the whole family. Some succeed. But few succeed as well as Dunsfold Wings and Wheels, with plenty to suit all ages and most tastes.
Motor enthusiasts had plenty to fill their day with two vehicle runs close to the crowd line, two fast runs down the runway and a large area of the arena where motors of all descriptions could be viewed and where visitors could compare notes with owners and fellow enthusiasts.
The military village had more re-enactors and genuine war-era vehicles than most shows: the youth bike team showed their skills over obstacles and the professional equivalent defied gravity in his tower of death. By contrast, there were also crafts, charity stalls and an excellent vocal trio to keep everyone entertained with vintage melodies until long after the flying had finished.
But our main interest is in the aircraft and there the show deserves many plaudits. This year Dunsfold Wings and Wheels is one of only five shows in the UK to get the Apache display, complete with a role-play, a demonstration of its features and the now-famous wall of fire finale. Another rarity on the airshow circuit this year is the Chinook, which displayed at only eleven public airshows in 2017. Again Dunsfold is one of those few and one of only 3 shows to get both the Apache and the Chinook. Add the Red Arrows and the Typhoon and it becomes clear that both the Army and the RAF are great supporters of Wings and Wheels.
Tigers Parachute display
The main missing link was the BBMF's Lancaster. 'Leader' had been scheduled to display alongside a brace of Spitfires but the show coincided with the interval during which most displays by BBMF aircraft had to be paused whilst their engineers dealt with a Merlin engine issue. The Flight did everything they could, though, and sent Sqn Ldr Andy Millikin to display their very busy Mk XlX Spitfire, which has a Griffon engine and so was unaffected by the Merlin malaise.
Amongst other fighters of the era were Boultbee Academy's P-51 Mustang 'Miss Helen' flown by John Dodd and Hangar 11's Hurribomber, brilliantly flown, as always, by owner Peter Teichman. These types both have strong connections with Dunsfold, the long-time home of the Hawker Aircraft Company and the wartime base for Mustangs operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force towards the end of the second world war.
Another, dynamic, warbird display came from the pairing of Mk lXb Spitfire MH434 and the Buchón painted to represent Messerschmitt Bf109 'Black 8', piloted by Brian Smith and Steve Jones respectively. The pair demonstrated an attack on the airfield, complete with pyrotechnics and streaming smoke following a successful hit by the Old Flying Machine's Spitfire on the Aircraft Restoration Company's pretend Messerschmitt.
The military and wartime displays are firm favourites but the show had some of the top of the civilian displays as well. In particular, the astonishing Rich Goodwin was as spellbinding as he always is. His display at any show is amazing but at Dunsfold he added little extra in the form of a couple of passes before and following his aerial display, not with another aircraft but with a vintage Hotchkiss racing car.
Opening the show on both days, before joining Melvyn Hiscock for their customary informative whilst humorous commentary double-act, was Brendan O'Brien in his yellow Piper Cub. Brendan, the best worst flyer, showed how not to fly, whilst showing how well he really can fly, in a crazy display before successfully landing - and taking off from - a trailer being towed along the runway. If that doesn't make sense, this YouTube video might help.
Wings and Wheels does not pretend to have as elaborate a ground-based aircraft display as many aerodrome shows. But what it does have it displays well and always offers a little extra when it can. Last year it was a ground run by the Brooklands VC10 and at one stage a repeat was anticipated for 2017. In practice, that fell off the agenda but the Brooklands giant's engines were powered up twice on each day of the show for about 15 minutes each time. Outside those times the VC10 was open for visitor tours, as was the resident Boeing 747. Other residents on display were Aces High's 'film stars' including their C-47 'Skytrain', plus a small number of visiting machines. These included a pair of Hawk T.2s and two Tucanos, one in the special Battle of Britain livery to celebrate the centenary of 72(R) Squadron.
|Aircraft (All both days unless noted)
|Flying (tap / hover over icon for more detail)|
||Chinook (Saturday only)|
||BBMF Lancaster with 2 Spitfires CANCELLED|
|BBMF Mk XlX Spitfire (added to replace cancelled BBMF aircraft) due 15.00 both days|
|Richard Goodwin 'Muscle' Pitts|
|RotorSport Calidus Autogyro|
|Auster, Beaver and Sioux from the Army Historic Aircraft flight (Scout originally listed but cancelled)|
|B-17G 'Sally B'|
|Spitfire Mk lXb (Old Flying Machine Company) and|
Hispano Buchón (Aircraft Restoration Co)
|Hurribomber (Hangar 11)|
|P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen'|
|Piper Cub: Brendan O'Brien. Crazy Flying and trucktop landing|
||Tigers Parachute Display Team|
|Additionally the following were on static display|
Royal Navy Wildcat HMA2
AAC AgustaWestland Apache AH1
RAF Hawk T2
de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
RAF Shorts Tucano (x2)
Hawk T.2 (x2)
The static and flying aircraft are listed in the table.
With a participative static display, excellent and varied entertainment around the grounds and a flying display that invariably includes the best of the military and civilian aircraft available, Dunsfold Wings and Wheels is an airshow - and more- not to be missed. Next year's date for the diary is 25th and 26th August.
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)|
Getting to the Show
Pick up the A281 from the A23, A24 or A29. The show ground is well signposted from the A281. Many of the roads, especially the last bit, are country roads which can get congested on show days, so allow plenty of time. There is free parking.
Postcode (for Sat Nav) GU6 8HY
National Express have coach services to Guildford and Horsham but not to Dunsfold. The normal local bus service, run by Arriva, does not operate over Bank Holidays (show days are over a Bank Holiday weekend). However, there is a service between Guildford bus station and the show four times a day, profits going to Help for Heroes. See the Wings & Wheels web site for details.
There is no station at or within walking distance of Dunsfold. However, the London to Portsmouth line serves several stations nearby. The best to try are Guildford (10 miles) and Godalming (6 miles).
The local bus service to the village does not run on Bank Holidays but from 2015 there has been a limited service direct between the show and Guildford four times a day. See this page on the Wings & Wheels web site for times and costs. Otherwise, a taxi is the only realistic option from the station to the aerodrome.
Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.
The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.
Accommodation near the show
It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.
There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.
Expedia lists a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. They also give, and take, Nectar points.
Click the blue Expedia name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into the link, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates and adjust the number of guests and rooms if necessary.
For other hotels, the International Hotels Group have a Holiday Inn in Guildford, about 11 miles away and Premier Inn have hotels in nearby Godalming and Guildford.
Weather for the show area
The Met office seven-day forecast includes maximum, minimum and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind direction, gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.
The BBC's five-day forecast has overall conditions including temperatures, UV range and a description that may help to determine how pleasant the day will be for the visitor.
Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.