Shuttleworth Collection de Havilland 100 Drive-In Airshow

The fourth and ultimately final drive in arishow of the 2020 Shuttleworth collection season took place on 27th September. This final event was set to be a celebration of 100 years of de Havilland. A manufacturer closely associated with Old Warden. 

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An impressive proposed line up had been gathered of all manner of de havilland types, with countless rare interwar types pencilled in. Sadly, as so often happens, the weather intervened with very high winds dominating the proceeding days and morning of the show, preventing many visiting aircraft from making it in. 

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Fortunately there were still plenty of de Havilland types for visitors to enjoy as part of the socially distanced paddock, including a puss Moth, Hornet Moth and the DH88 Comet. Having missed the earlier September show, this was my first time in 2020 enjoying the ability to explore the site at a drive-in show. It was great to get a chance to be part of the uncovered paddock in 2020.

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With conditions still challenging by early afternoon, the flying display focused on solo performances, rather than larger formations, which offered some extended display routines. 

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Fittingly, the display commenced with a graceful solo performance from the collection’s de Havilland Canada Chipmunk performing graceful aerobatics in the not so graceful conditions. 

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With the high winds early on in the day, it was left to the heavier aircraft to make up much of the flying display. Stu Goldspink in Hurricane I P3717 flew a wonderful aerobatic solo whilst the Collection’s Sea Hurricane put on a great low level performance (Rob Millingship’s debut in the aircraft) before the collection’s Spitfire V flew an extended aerobatic sequence in the hands of chief pilot Paul Stone. 

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The Westland Lysander and Gloster Gladiator provided some mercury magic for those in attendance, with a great pair of displays from Jim Schofield and John Hurrell respectively.

Further de havilland entertainment came from the Old Warden based DH89 Dragon Rapide which put on a spirited performance in the hands of chief engineer Jean Munn.

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The winds just eased enough throughout the afternoon to allow a small portion of the DH Moths gathered on the airfield to get airborne for a display. This saw two DH60 Moths joined by a pair of Tiger Moths and a single Hornet Moth. 

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This wonderful collection of Biplanes flew in a series of small formations before breaking off into an extended tailchase while one of the Tiger Moths flew aerobatics overhead from David Cyster. The solo aerobatics were very impressive given the wind conditions at altitude and it has been some time since I’ve seen a Tiger Moth put through its paces in such a fashion.

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This sequence also saw a solo from the Hornet Moth in the hands of Mark Miller, a rare type in a flying display these days.

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The days flying was brought to a close with a rightly show-stopping performance from the DH88 Comet. A true de Havialliand and Old Warden icon. The sound of the Comet wheeling around the late afternoon skies was something to behold. This routine was all the more special as it was a debut of a new Comet pilot, Jean Munn. This built on the already great reputation he has built up in other iconic machines such as the Sopwith Snipe, Mew Gull and Dragon Rapide. There was also that great sense of anticipation waiting for that wonderful twin to appear over the horizon on its take off roll. This remarkable routine was even more fitting as this proved to be the final display of the challenging 2020 season. 

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This event and those that went before have shown that the Shuttleworth Collection have been able to overcome the difficult conditions and still deliver regular airshows. Lets hope a more traditional season can follow in 2021. 

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As always, in difficult conditions the collection really do need your support. Please consider making a donation to the collection.

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