One of the most anticipated rebuild projects at Old Warden in some years came to a conclusion in early 2021 after COVID led to understandable delays as attention turned towards getting aircraft back in the air for last years series of drive-in airshows. The collection’s original Bristol F.2B Fighter is one of the most significant examples of a World War I fighter airworthy today. The wonderful combination of unique looks and the original Rolls Royce Falcon engine make for a wonderful sight and sound.
After many years regular service as one of the show regulars at the collection, the Bristol Fighter was due a recover and inspection which saw it taken out of airworthy rotation after the 2018 season. This saw the airframe stripped back to it’s framework and moved into the workshop section of the engineering hangar. The work resulted in a wonderful new paintscheme which offered a different look from from it’s previous scheme, while still maintaining the same presence.
With some added flashes of colour on the wheel covers and the distinctive identification marks on the fuselage and underwing the Bristol Fighter looks fantastic. It was great to enjoy the airframes first season back in the air in 2021 and the debut display at the opening show in May. The airframe flew in a dedicated slot in great light on what had been a changeable day. Having the Bristol Fighter back in the sky brought back some more familiarity to Old Warden in a season that would gradually see things return to the familiar format from years gone by.
The Bristol Fighter is another wonderful testament to the team at Old Warden and the Shuttleworth collection and underlines their devotion to keeping these wonderful machines in the air for the public to enjoy. No doubt the Shuttleworth Collection will feature heavily again in this years’ “airshow moments”.