This year is a very special year for both the aerodrome and the Harrier as we celebrate 50 years since the first vertical take-off which took place here in October 1960.
The Harrier was developed from the original prototype, the P1127 whose first set of hovering flights took place on 21 October 1960, with Bill Bedford at the controls. For the initial series of tests the aircraft was tethered to the grid with short cables to limit the height it could rise to.
Limited by one-foot tethers, and with Bill Bedford's right leg in plaster following a car accident, the first hover was successfully completed. Once reasonable control was demonstrated the tethers were removed and free hovers could commence on 19 November 1960. The Harrier entered Squadron service in July 1969 with the first aircraft being issued to No. 1 Squadron at R.A.F. Wittering.
Jamie McAllister, Event Director, Wings & Wheels comments: “Dunsfold Aerodrome has an illustrious aviation history and amongst the many aircraft that have been resident on the airfield is the Harrier, the world's first Vertical Take Off and Landing jet aircraft to enter military service. We are extremely proud and very excited to welcome the Harrier back which we know is a firm favourite with our Wings & Wheels visitors. Airshow tickets are on sale from £16 and can be purchased from www.wingsandwheels.net.”
If you would like to witness this historic event please contact Abigail Harris on 01483 200900 to register your interest. Numbers are limited and by pre-arrangement only.