In 2019 and 2021 the Shuttleworth July show has focused on the lighter side of aviation, specifically the Light Aircraft Association. This offers a chance for sport and light aviation types to take centre stage and enjoy that typical garden party atmosphere that Old Warden evening shows are famous for. This years event was extra special as it marked the 75th anniversary of the Light Aircraft Association.
After the now familiar opening act of an evening show in the form of a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast (Spitfire V AB910 on this occasion), it was the turn of much lighter types for the majority of the evening.
A great start to the main flying displays came from a wonderful pairs aerobatic display from Jean Munn and Stu Goldspink in the Old Warden based Pitts S1 and S2. This was the first time I had really been aware of the striking difference in size of these two types. The routine combined close formation aerobatics with synchro figures making for a welcome new addition to the Old Warden line up. Hopefully 2022 sees this act return.
At the other end of the aerobatic spectrum, we were treated to an impressive pair and separate solo performances from a CAP 232 and Extra 300L.
This show benefited from arguably the best weather of the year in the midst of a heatwave with very low winds. This made it a perfect night for the WW1 types based at Old Warden to take to the sky. The collection’s Sopwith Camel and Bristol M1c put on great performances but the high point was the return to display flying of their SE5a for the first time since the 2019 season.
This show also saw the first team appearance from the Great War Display Team at Old Warden in some years, with two Fokker Triplanes and a scale SE5a. Their combination of choreographed dogfights are pyrotechnics offered a great contrast to the collection’s original machines in action.
Of course in many ways the start of the philosophy the Light Aircraft Association looks to build on was the Lympe Air Trials of the 1920s. Old Warden is home to a trio of types from those trials, the Hawker Cygnet, Anec II and English Electric Wren. This show was set to feature all three machines in the air.
The Anec flew a wonderful extended routine for a machine not often seen in the air and the Wren flew a well documented (see the airshow moment from earlier this month) extended display of full flight for only the second time at a public event since it’s 2019 rebuild. Sadly the Cygnet was unable to take to the air but seeing the rarer of the three machines in action was a wonderful treat.
A selection of racers offers quite the contrast to the ultralight Lympe machines and alongside the classic Shuttleworth trio of DH88 Comet, Hawk Speed Six and David Beale’s Mew Gull, there was also a return of the F1 Racers slot. This saw the Cassut racer and Cosmic Wind fly together and in solo displays, with the latter being another great example of Pete Kynsey’s excellent solo aerobatics.
Closing the show in the perfect fashion for a summer’s evening at Old Warden was an almost full quota of the collection’s Edwardian types. The Bristol Boxkite and Avro Triplane took to the air, alongside a series of hops from the Deperdussin. As always the star of the Edwardian show was a graceful few circuits from the wonderful Blackburn Monoplane.
The July evening show finally saw the weather come good for a 2021 evening event at Shuttleworth and there is without a doubt no better advert for just how good Old Warden can be.