Once again I returned to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome for another relaxing and entertaining day of vintage flying. The weather was bright and sunny with an unfortunate wind which prevent the more delicate and frail aircraft from displaying which was very disappointing when considering the earlier cancellations of the Avro Lancaster B.I and Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Sally B”. Nonetheless the show had a great selection of aircraft types on display which led to a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
There were several aircraft out on the paddock for static display including a Bristol Scout C Replica and a Bristol Scout D Replica. It was also great to see a privately owned Sopwith Dove Replica and the Collection’s own Avro Tutor, Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk. IB, Hawker Tomtit Mk. I and Sopwith Camel F.1 Replica in the museum for all too see, hopefully to fly in a display sometime in the future. The Shuttleworth Collection’s own De Havilland DH.88 Comet “Grosvenor House” and Percival E.2H Mew Gull were viewable on the flightline due to not being able to display due to the crosswinds. The Royal Air Force also provided a Eurocopter AS350BB Squirrel HT.1 as a support aircraft for the Red Arrows which arrived just before the display proceedings began.
Kicking off the proceedings was a regular visitor to Old Warden, Peter Teichman who flew his Curtiss P-40M Kittyhawk Mk. III in a typically excellent display and showcasing this classic fighter’s excellent handling characteristics before coming in for a perfect landing and allowing the crowds a much closer look at the well maintained warbird.
A far more sedate routine was performed next by the Shuttleworth Collection’s Polikarpov Po-2 biplane trainer in a series of gentle circuits over the airfield.
Next up was Chris Heames in the strikingly shaped Fauvel AV.36 which was towed up by the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub before performing a series loops as it descended down.
A late addition to the flying display was Kennet Aviation’s North American AT-6D Harvard III which put on a great demonstration of this popular warbird’s capabilities.
Having been absent from the airshow season last year due to an annual overhaul, it was great to see the Shuttleworth Collection’s Westland Lysander Mk. IIIA back in the air again and was joined by Peter Holloway’s Fieseler Fi-156A-1 Storch which was performing on its last displays in the UK before going to new owners in Norway. The pair demonstrated their slow speed handling which was made more prevalent with the high winds.
We then had a change of pace in the proceedings with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows with their nine BAe Hawk T.1As making their first public display appearance with a spectacular rolling display which was unfortunately interrupted near the end by an intruding helicopter which resulted in the team putting on a delayed final break before departing. Since the show, the pilot was stripped of his licence for intruding restricted airspace.
Returning to vintage aviation we were treated to a quartet of training aircraft featuring the Shuttleworth Collection’s De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth II, BAe Systems’ Blackburn B.2 and Peter Holloway’s Miles M.14A Magister I and his newly acquired Ryan STA. After performing a series of formation flypasts the Blackburn B-2 performed a few aerobatic manoeuvres before joining the other aircraft in a series of circuits to conclude this segment of flying.
Some more potent aircraft took to the air next including the Hawker Demon I owned by Demon Displays, the Shuttleworth Collection’s Gloster Gladiator Mk. I and the Battle of Britain veteran Hawker Hurricane Mk. I operated by Hawker Heritage. The warbird trio flew in formation for a series of passes before putting on their own stunning solo routines.
Another welcome returnee to show was Peter Davies flying the RotorSport UK Calidus in a highly entertaining routine, showing of the autogyro’s versatility along with its display smoke.
Only two of the Shuttleworth Collections World War One fighters displayed in the form of the Bristol F.2B Fighter and RAF S.E.5A which performed some graceful circuits and passes.
The second glider of the day was the Letov LF-107 Lunak flown by Graham Saw and once again towed up by the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub before putting on an aerobatic decent.
More aerobatics were performed next by the Global Stars Aerobatic Team with their fourship of highly aerobatic aircraft including an Extra EA-330LT flown by Chris Burkett, an Extra EA-330SC flown by Mark Jefferies and a pair of Mudry CAP-232s flown by Tom Cassells and Michael Pickin. The team have seldom displayed at UK shows and their displays of formations flying and unlimited aerobatics was a real treat to witness at Old Warden.
With the winds too strong for the Edwardians to fly, it was down to a pair of twin engine warbirds to conclude the show. First up was BAe Systems’ Avro Anson XIX which flew a flat series of passes before being joined by the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Bristol Blenheim Mk. I for a single formation flypast. The Blenheim, in the hands of John Romain then went on to perform a highly polished routine in this unique warbird with some great topside passes before returning to its home base at Duxford. All the other visiting aircraft then began to depart the airfield as the whole event came to a close.
Despite setbacks leading up to the show and on the day itself, the show had many highlights including The Red Arrows’ first display of the season along with the other visiting displays including the Global Stars Aerobatic Team and the stunning performance by the Bristol Blenheim Mk. I. The home team of the Shuttleworth Collection also put on some great performances with the Hawker Demon I, Gloster Gladiator Mk. I and Hawker Hurricane Mk. I being particularly excellent. All in all, it was another fantastic day at Old Warden and I will be returning later in the year for another one of their great airshows.
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