For the 2013 season, the Shuttleworth October Flying Day at Old Warden Aerodrome was my final airshow of the year and provided a very different type of show compared to the others I have attended with the majority of displays being provided by the Shuttleworth Collection but also features a few visiting aircraft. The show also featured a large number of civilian aircraft owned by private operators who were parked up along the crowd line. It is also possible to get a close look at the display aircraft as well as some static items including the latest acquisition to the Shuttleworth Collection, the record breaking Percival E.2H Mew Gull which arrived before the show started and will be displaying during the 2014 season.
Opening the show in a very sedate way was the Elliotts Primary EoN which was towed up to gliding height by the Collection’s Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub. The vintage glider drifted down very gracefully and made a very precise landing in front of crowd centre.
World War Two was the focus of the next few displays which featured the Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk. IB which was restored back to airworthiness this year and the Westland Lysander Mk. IIIA, both owned by the Shuttleworth Collection. The Gloster Gladiator Mk. I was due to display as well but had a broken air speed indicator put a stop to that and the aircraft bought down safely after being led down by the Lysander. The Sea Hurricane displayed first and put on a marvellous performance with a lot topside passes and it was great to see this rare warbird back on the display circuit. The same could be said of the Lysander which also gave a very tight and photogenic display and the unusual wing design is always a treat for the eyes.
A unique set piece took place next and featured a variety of aircraft to replicate a 1930’s air race. The aircraft taking part included Sir John Allison’s Mile M.65 Gemini 1A, Peter Holloway’s Miles M.11A Whitney Straight, a Miles M.3A Falcon Major, the Shuttleworth Collection’s Miles M.14A Magister I and Comper C.L.A.7 Swift alongside a pair home based Chilton D.W.1s. The aircraft all took off and flew five laps around a triangular circuit using local landmarks to pinpoint the turning areas before diving for the finish to conclude this interesting display.
An aerobatic interlude was up next, courtesy of Kester Scrope who flew his Zivko Edge 540 making a welcome return to Old Warden and gave a dazzling display of unlimited aerobatics with a very good use of smoke.
Rotary displays are not often seen at air displays at Old Warden but we were treated to an Autogyro demonstration by a RotorSport UK Calidus from Gyro Air Displays. The pilot, Peter Davies demonstrated the surprising handling qualities of this aircraft which was further enhanced with the copious amounts of smoke used in the display.
The next segment of displays revolved around aircraft from the World War One era. First up was the Collection’s Avro 504K which has recently returned to the air and sporting the colours of a night fighter and put on great display before being joined by the Sopwith Pup for a single formation flypast before the Pup put on its own performance. This section of flying was concluded by another Sopwith aircraft, the Sopwith Triplane Replica which put on a fine display of its abilities.
A familiar pair of aircraft that have displayed together at Old Warden in the past took off to entertain the crowds. The immaculately polished Spartan 7W Executive from Little Gransden joined up with the home based Avro Anson XIX which is owned by BAe Systems. The two transport aircraft flew in formation before performing some very photogenic displays with the Spartan being particularly stunning in the bright sun.
The Shuttleworth Collection bought together an unlikely pair of biplanes in the form of the Avro Tutor and the Hawker Hind which flew in formation for several passes before splitting off to perform their own solo routines. Particular note should go to the Hind which put on one of the finest displays I have ever seen with some very low and close passes.
Out second glider display in the form of a rare Letov LF-107 Lunak was once again taken up by the Collection’s Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub. This Czechoslovakian built glider proved highly aerobatic upon its descent and proved very interesting to watch.
The show also featured a second segment themed around the First World War with another trio of Collection owned aircraft. Shuttleworth regulars, the Bristol F.2B Fighter and RAF S.E.5A put on some excellent solo displays but they were joined by the Bristol M.1C Replica which has only recently returned to the air and put on a surprisingly dynamic routine.
Closing the main flying display was a very noisy visitor, the Hawker Hunter T.7 which is owned by Graham Peacock and was flown by Chris Heames who performed a stunning display which really showed of this classic jet to full effect.
Once all the visiting aircraft had departed the conditions were just right for one of the Edwardian aircraft from the Collection and on this occasion it was the Roe IV Triplane Replica that did some wonderful passes and upon landing concluded the last show of the year at Old Warden.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show which was help along immensely by the sunny and calm conditions. The air race was a very interesting concept for an air display and I hope they repeat this at future shows. Major highlights for me was the Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk. IB and also worthy of mention was the display by the Hawker Hind. I will certainly return to Old Warden again next year.
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