The end of the airshow season was finally upon as and once again, the last show of 2015 was held at Old Warden Aerodrome for the Shuttleworth Uncovered Airshow. The Uncovered event allowed the visiting public to get up close and personal with a variety of homebased and visiting aircraft which were dotted about the airfield. This finale to the airshow season provided the usual Shuttleworth mix of vintage aircraft but also provided the last chance to see the Vulcan display to the public.
The static display was quite large compared to the usual amount of aircraft at Old Warden and featured some participants from the Shuttleworth Collection including the Avro Tutor, the Elliotts Primary EoN, the Hawker Tomtit Mk. I and the Sopwith Camel F.1 Replica which will hopefully be flying for the 2016 season. The Collection’s Bleriot XI was also outside on show alongside another example visiting from France. A large variety of visiting aircraft were also on display including an Aeronca C-3, a Christen A-1 Husky floatplane, the Duxford based LeVier Cosmic Wind “Ballerina”, a Percival E.2H Mew Gull Replica, Richard Goodwin’s Pitts S-2S Special, the Spartan 7W Executive from Little Gransden and the Wallis WA-116 Agile which was actually used in the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. Peter Holloway’s recently acquired CASA 1-133C Jungmeister was due to display but couldn’t get started and was reduced to static only among the flightline of display aircraft.
The show was opened by The Red Devils Parachute Display Team of the British Army who were dropped off by a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX and proceeded to descend with a number large flags with one depicting the Shuttleworth Collection.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight also participated in the flying displays with a series of flypasts from their Douglas DC-3C Dakota III.
A mixture of homebased and visiting warbirds then took off to perform including the Battle of Britain veteran Hawker Hurricane Mk. I which now resides at Old Warden, the Shuttleworth Collection’s Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk. IB and Kennet Aviation’s Supermarine Seafire F. XVII. The trio of fighters flew several formation passes before the Seafire departed and the Hurricanes flew once more together before putting of their own solo routines. The Seafire then concluded this segment with fantastic display which featured some great topside passes.
Some inter-war types then took centre stage with the pairing of the Hawker Demon I from Demon Displays and the Gloster Gladiator Mk. I from the Shuttleworth Collection which flew in formation before flying their own individual display.
The Shuttleworth Collection also provided the next display segment which revolved around air racing with their Percival E.2H Mew Gull and De Havilland DH.88 Comet “Grosvenor House” which also flew in formation for performing some great sweeping flypasts.
Aircraft types that were used during the Lympne Light Aircraft Trials were represented by the Shuttleworth Collection’s ANEC II, shortly followed by a pair of Hawker Cygnet Replicas which all flew a series of sedate circuits.
A series of training aircraft then displayed, beginning with the Russian built Polikarpov Po-2 biplane trainer which performed a very gentle routine. Next came another visitor in the form of Kennet Aviation’s North American AT-6D Harvard III which put on an excellent demonstration of its capabilities and was then followed by the Shuttleworth Collection’s Percival P.56 Provost T.1 which put on short aerobatic display before putting on some low flypasts. The two trainers then joined up to perform a series of formations passes to conclude this segment.
Unlimited aerobatics was the next flavour of the show with Mark Jefferies’ Extra EA-330SC who put on one of the finest performances of the show with plenty of dynamic rolls and loops, evening featuring a segment with the sparks flowing from the wingtips.
A surprisingly energetic display was also performed by Graham Saw’s Fauvel AV.36 which was towed up by the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub.
The first of two segments featuring warbirds from the First World War began with the debut display of the visiting Bristol Scout C Replica which put on some great smooth flypasts in the dimming sunlight. More aircraft built by Bristol Aeroplane Company then took off including the Shuttleworth Collection’s Bristol F.2B Fighter which flew alongside the Scout before putting on its own display. Shortly after, the Collection’s Bristol M.1C Replica monoplane fighter took off and performed in the skies to conclude this segment.
Finally the time came for the highlight of the show, the Avro Vulcan B.2 which was performing for the last time at an airshow before its imminent retirement. The four-engine jet bomber arrived in formation with the locally based Avro Anson XIX owned by BAe Systems. The Vulcan then went on to fly a very tight and noisy display within the small confines of Old Warden’s airspace including some ground shaking roars and incredible wingovers before making a steep and loud climbing departure for the final time at Old Warden. Farewell XH558. Once the delta jet had left the area, the Anson returned to perform its own display and was also well received by the crowds.
The second segment featuring warbirds of the First World War got underway with three more aircraft from the Shuttleworth Collection including the Avro 504K, the RAF S.E.5A and the Sopwith Pup which all flew their own solo routines.
We then had a small break in the flying displays to allow a number of visiting aircraft to depart back to their home airfield and featured multiple general aviation types but also included a few vintage types such as a Pitts S-1S Special and a recently restored Chiltern D.W.1A.
A final aerobatic display was then performed in graceful style by a striking Yakovlev Yak 52 sponsored by Aerobility, a disabled flying charity and looked great against the evening skies.
The weather conditions were calm enough for the four Edwardian aircraft, starting with the Roe IV Triplane Replica and Bristol Boxkite Replica which flew some very gentle flypasts individually and in formation. The Deperdussin Type A Monoplane then performed a series of hops across the runway before the Blackburn Monoplane Type D, the oldest British airworthy aircraft closed the show with some sedate passes.
With the flying programme finished the few remaining visiting aircraft departed including a striking Extra EA-330LT and the unusual sight of a Pietenpol Air Camper being towed towards the hangars.
The show was absolutely fantastic and I was very impressed by the ‘Uncovered’ aspect and allowed me to get close to quite few of my favourite vintage aircraft. The flying displays were also excellent with the Avro Vulcan B.2 and the debut of the Bristol Scout C being the major highlights of the day. Also worthy of mention was some other visitors who performed brilliantly with the homebased aircraft, in particular the Supermarine Seafire F. XVII and North American AT-6D Harvard III from Kennet Aviation. The Shuttleworth Collection have once again outdone themselves and I hope they do so again in 2016.
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