Ghosts Of Airshows Past 2 – Wings and Things – Woodchurch

Events up and down the country often come and go, some go and come back, some never really get going and a few are still sorely missed to this day.

Wings and Things is certainly in the latter category. Held at Rob Davies farm strip at Woodchurch in Kent the show always offered a unique display.

Often following the same basic pattern of training aircraft, followed by warbirds then a few jets with a Mustang finale. It was a wonderful show while it lasted, bringing in countless unique moments.

The star of every show would always be Rob Davies in his P-51 Big Beautiful Doll. Robs displays were always impressive combing low level passes with graceful loops and rolls, but with a home field advantage it became even more impressive. Sadly of course the aircraft was lost in 2011 at Duxford following a mid-air collision.

Rob Davies low down the runway at Headcorn in "Big Beautiful Doll."

Rob Davies low down the runway at Headcorn in “Big Beautiful Doll.”

Woodchurch was one of those perfect venues, crowd line up close to the runway with minimal barriers, a dramatic backdrop of tree lines and countryside all combined with wonderful aircraft.

Spitfire Ltd's Mk XVI Spitfire at Woodchurch.

Spitfire Ltd’s Mk XVI Spitfire at Woodchurch.

I could list every highlight I recall from the Woodchurch shows, but I would be here all day, so I’ll mention a few.

The Headcorn based Tiger Club always attended the show in full force, often displaying their Turbulent Team as well as Tiger Moths and Stampes.

The show always saw an appearance by the Fighter Collection, with chief pilot Pete Kynsey bringing a range of aircraft down over the years, with highlights being the P-47 and Corsair. Seeing these machines display and in some cases operate out of Woodchurch was always a pleasure.

The Fighter Collection's Corsair at Woodchurch in 2006.

The Fighter Collection’s Corsair at Woodchurch in 2006.

Another warbird display that always sticks in my memory from these shows was Brian Brown in the then Real Aeroplane Company owned Black Hurricane, the aircraft was always displayed in an impressive manner. Sadly Brian and the aircraft were both lost in an accident at Shoreham in 2007.

The Real Aeroplane Company's Black Hurricane.

The Real Aeroplane Company’s Black Hurricane.

Most years featured performances from Golden Apples pair of the F-86 and T-33 shooting star, seeing these early jets perform over a small grass strip was really something to behold.

I can just about remember a very special Woodchurch moment in 1999 when Mikael Carlson displayed his Bleriot XI replica at the show not long after he completed the channel crossing reconstruction. Anyone who remembers his displays at Duxford will know how impressive this was at a small venue,

For many years the impressive finale became B-17 Sally B displaying with her “Little Friends,” usually Big Beautiful Doll and Janie. I can recall at the final event in 2006 there was a trio of Mustangs, with the usual pair being joined by Taff Smith in “Susy.”

The traditional Woodchurch finale of Sally B with a pair of Mustangs.

The traditional Woodchurch finale of Sally B with a pair of Mustangs.

The show ultimately became a victim of its own success and with rising insurance costs Rob Davies elected to pull the plug on the event in 2007. Over the past few years smaller events have been held on the same airfield so perhaps one day the show may return in a different format.

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