A little bonus instalment of this series, looking at some of the familiar aircraft that have sat out the 2020 season. WW1 machines have thankfully become more and more common over the past four or five years and there are now a number of places you can go in the UK and enjoy the sight of original or highly accurate reproductions take to the sky.
Shuttleworth Collection Bristol Fighter
The long-term Old Warden resident Bristol Fighter missed the 2019 season as part of a planned overhaul and re-cover. That work was coming to an end as the effects of COVID hit and was only able to restart in earnest once the shortened flying season was completed.
In the past week or so the Collection have been able to carry out engine runs on the newly finished Bristol Fighter and it looks great in its new scheme. I look forward to seeing this wonderful machine back in the air next year.
WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust Aircraft (WAHT)
A little more of a technicality on this occasion, as the WAHT have displayed and did actually put in a single show appearance at their Stow Maries base in September.
Nonetheless the repeat opportunity to enjoy their wonderful BE2 and Albatros (the latter only debuting at the Stow show in September) in the air was not available. Both machines were reproductions built by the incredible Vintage Aviator company in New Zealand and it is always a treat to see them in the air. There has been no Albatros in the UK skies since the forced landing of the last WAHT operated example in 2016.
Hopefully 2021 will allow us to enjoy these machines at shows across the country again.
Old Warden – Sopwith Dove
I suppose this could be argued as another technicality, being a post-war development of the Sopwith Pup design. With it’s rotary power plant I certainly feel it warrants inclusion in today’s post. I believe the Dove has flown a handful of times in 2020 and will hopefully make a welcome return in 2021.
Historic Aircraft Collection – Airco DH9
Arguably the highest profile return to flight in recent memory was the momentous first flight of the Airco DH9 in May 2019. With limited appearances at Flying Legends, Old Warden and the Duxford September show, a lucky few were able to enjoy the unique experience of watching this WWI bomber.
It was hoped that the DH9 would get a 2020 airshow appearance with a planned display as part of the Duxford Proms event scheduled for the Friday of the September show. Of course, this was not to be and we will have to wait another winter before enjoying this marvel in the sky again.
Great War Display Team
It would hardly be fair to mention WWI airshow favourites without mentioning the wonderful Great War Display Team. The team were much missed in 2020 and hopefully we will be able to enjoy their wonderful brand of aerial theatre in 2021.