Over the past few years each Shuttleworth Collection season has featured a First World War themed event. This is hardly surprising given the unbreakable link between Old Warden and First World War aircraft. On the whole, the collection have fallen foul of bad weather on almost every occasion. Thankfully this years evening show saw flyable, if breezy weather.
The planned star act of the evening was to be no less than four Sopwith aircraft flying as part of the show. The planned line up consisted of the Pup, Triplane, Snipe and Dove. Unfortunately technical problems led to the Snipe staying firmly in the hangar and the Dove aborting its display on the take off run. Luckily both the Pup and the Triplane did get into the skies both providing excellent accounts of two classic Sopwith designs.
The show got underway with a stylish Sea Hurricane solo which contained countless classic topside passes and added another brilliant memory to what had already become a “Hurricane Summer”.
Though not as high profile a return as the Sopwith Triplane, the collection’s Chipmunk also rejoined the flying line up. A Shuttleworth tradition has been the ribbon pick up with this aircraft. This evening show saw the first public appearance of this act in a number of years. Only one ribbon was picked up, though this was impressive enough given the blustery conditions!
It wouldn’t be an Old Warden evening without the familiar sound of the DH88 Comet leaping into the air. This show saw a particularly energetic account from the classic racer in wonderful evening light. Another racer making its first appearance of the season was the Comper Swift, which delivered a powerful solo slot late in the show.
Alongside the Sopwith aircraft on display the Collection’s Bristol pair also added to the shows main theme. The Bristol M1C and F2b performed together and each performed graceful solo displays. This show also saw another striking appearance from the visiting BE2e and the first 2017 flight from the SE5a.
The evening’s flying was brought to a close with a familiar set piece featuring the Westland Lysander and Polikarpov PO2.
I’ll never tire of watching the Lysander fly in fading light as those iconic landing lights start to take effect, a real reminder of how special these evening events are.