Monday, September 5, 2011

Red Arrows tribute at Wings & Wheels


From August 30, GetSurry.co: VIDEO: Red Arrows tribute at Wings & Wheels

A MINUTE'S silence was held at Wings & Wheels over the bank holiday weekend, in memory of Red Arrows pilot Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, who died when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed at a display in Dorset on August 20.

A moving poem, 'High Flight' - penned by a pilot who was killed in a mid-air collision in the Second Word War - was also read and visitors on both days of the aviation and motoring show at Dunsfold Park paid their personal respects by signing books of condolence that will be passed on to Flt Lt Egging's widow.

The Red Arrows had been due to open the first day of the event on Sunday and a large group of friends of former Cranleigh School pupil and Red Arrow pilot, Zane Sennett, were at the show.

"The tragic thing is that Zane used to instruct the pilot who died," said his former history teacher, Mike Payne.

"It was his first year flying with the Red Arrows and a third year pilot is always selected as a mentor. Zane was chosen to be his [Flt Lt Egging's] mentor and so had had a particularly close bond with him."

The Red Arrows were sadly missed at Wings & Wheels but a thrilling solo display in a Hawk T1 was provided by the RAF Hawk Display Team's first female pilot, Flt Lt Juliette 'Jules' Fleming.

Fittingly, Bank Holiday Monday was 'Women in the Air' day, held to mark the 100th anniversary of the first British woman to get a pilot's licence - it was Hilda Hewlitt, who made history just down the road at Brooklands on August 29 in 1911.

The aircraft has a special link with Dunsfold as the first Hawk flew in 1974 and its maiden flight took place at the airfield.

Wings & Wheels is now established as one of the best airshows in the UK and vistors were treated to a host of RAF legends in an action-packed, five-hour flying display on both days.

This year has marked the 60th anniversary of the Hawker Hunter fighter jet, which is still in active service, and it made history at Dunsfold in 1953 when Neville Duke achieved 727.6mph in the modified first prototype and broke the world air speed record.

Dunsfold showgoers enjoyed another 'first' with a unique display by a Royal Navy Hawker Sea Fury and the psychedelic 'Miss Demeanour' Hunter, plus some epic close-formation aerobatics by the only Hawker Hunter display group - Team Viper.

The most famous RAF aircraft of all, the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster, provided a fabulous flypast for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and a Second World War P-51 Mustang also performed an aerial duet with a Spitfire IX.

Sadly, the Avro Vulcan Bomber was a last-minute no-show. The only delta-wing giant still flying, which was relaunched in 2007 following the most complex restoration ever undertaken, developed a hydraulics fault en route to Dunsfold on Sunday and also missed Monday's show.

Striking a blow for the Army, The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment Parachute Team - better known as The Tigers - made a dramatic grand entrance, dropping in at 70mph from a Royal Navy Sea Lynx, shortly after the helicopter had given an incredible display of its versatility by looping the loop and executing a 180-degree wingover.

Visitors were treated to a swift succession of mind-boggling aerial displays that all seemed to defy the laws of gravity, in which show commentator Brendan O'Brien led the way by taking time off to land his Piper J-3 Cub repeatedly on the back of a moving truck.

Women in the Air day was also memorably celebrated by the world's only formation wingwalking team - the Breitling Wingwalkers - whose two fearless 'babes in lycra' performed high kicks at speeds of up to 150mph and 'G' forces of up to 4G.
On Sunday they also had to combat a sudden shower which, the crowd was informed, would have felt like being "slashed with razors".

Help for Heroes, Brooklands Museum, Cranleigh Village Hospital Trsut and Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance will all benefit from the success of this year's show.

Dunsfold Park chief executive Jim McAllister said: "Over the last seven years, Wings & Wheels has helped Dunsfold Aerodrome raise more than £250,000 for charitable causes.

"Each year a small team of staff and a dedicated group of volunteers work tirelessly to ensure the airshow happens and is a huge success.

"I would like to thank all these individuals and all those who have supported the show through sponsorship, donations and by purchasing tickets

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