2005 Edition

 

 

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Sunset Success

Travelling Showmen
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Monoplane Chic
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Old Warden is always a magic place for air displays. There is just something there that no other airshow can replicate. The place is even more magical at an evening show where some fantastic sunlight can really make the collection's aircraft come into their own. Add to this some impressive visiting displays and plus a picnic with some chilled wince and you have the receipe for the perfect evening's entertainment. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All Photography copyright of Author.

 

Biplane Bonanza
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The weekend of the 18th-19th June was undoubtley the hottest of the year so far and perhaps the best weather wise of any airshow weekend so far. It was quite a relief then to be able to visit an evening show where temperatures had cooled down quite a bit to a very pleasant level for a evening picnic. The main air display itself didn't get underway until 7pm which can come as quite a shock to those unintiated visitors more used to traditional afternoon airshows. By then, the air is relatively still and the sun setting over the college and lush woodlands around Old Warden aerodrome is more than perfect for some unique photographic conditions although it can become quite a challenge right at the end of the display after the sun has set.

Such is the reputation of Old Warden, that's it's not unheard of for pilots in the vicinity to ask to perform fly-bys prior to the show and Peter Teichman, an old friend of the collection obliged with an enthusiastic flypast in his stunning Beech Staggerwing. The show opened properly with the pair of Ryan PT-22 Recruits that performed at the VE Day show just a fornight ago. Andy Septon lead the pair in the PT-22 Prototype "OO1" while Peter Holloway followed in his example which is permanently based at Old Warden. The two put on a sterling show.

The theme in the Souvenir Programme was World War One. Sadly, WW1 participation was "limited" in the actual flying programme. We say "limited" but at Old Warden that means 2 genuine World War types and a very late production example. The two geniune types were the collection's RAF SE5a and Bristol F2b Fighter which displayed as a pair showing off their doped irish linen surfaces to great effect in the sunset.

The collection's Sopwith Triplane was produced by Northern Aeroplane Workshops and while it was being constructed was viewed by Sir Thomas Sopwith who claimed it was so accurate it could be considered a one off extension to his production line. As such it has a geniune serial number for the type being "153."  It's certainly a very charismatic performer with it's Clerget rotary engine which not only means you hear the geniune blipping of the engine for World War One but also a distinctive small of Castor Oil!

The Shuttleworth Collection is home to possibly the finest collection of interwar types and these always play a big role in any Old Warden display. 1930's style barnstorming has become something of a defining feature at many Old Warden displays and during this evening display the pilots put on a "tied-together" display using the Parnell Elf, DH60X Moth and DH82a Tiger Moth and a fair amount of red white and blue bunting. It's a great display and one the crowd really appreciated.  Another pair of civilian trainers were the collections Southern Martlet and Nick Parkhouse's Tipst Trainer which displayed at the beginning of the show.

Peter Hollway has quite a collection based at Old Warden which includes two rare examples of the Miles stable. Peter's familiar Miles Magister now it more authentic markings was joined by his equally beatifiul Miles Falcon for another brilliantly flown pairs routine which perfectly displays the pleasing lines of both aircraft to great effect.

The setting sun provides perfect lighting for some of the collection inter war RAF types in their silver doped markings to be captured reflecting the eveing sunlight. First up was the Avro Tutor in it's CFS aerobatic team markings that still look amazing almost a year after it first appeared from the workshops.

Much later in the flying display the collection's Hawker Hind and Gloster Gladiator got airbourne for their familiar paired display. Both looked absolutely amazing in the now orange skies with their surfaces reflecting the setting sun providing completely different photographs to those taken at afternoon displays.

As well as many of the collection's own aircraft, there were a couple more visiting acts. First of these was Chris Kelleher in a De Havilland Canada Chipmunk in a striking scheme reminiscent of the "Raspberry Ripple" markings carried by the Empire Test Pilots School aircraft. It was a great display and certainly grabs you attention as the chippie lacks any inverted fuel system and occasionally you hear the engine lose a few beats in the negative-G parts of his display.

Coming much more up to date was Justyn Gorman's Vans RV4. The RV4 has recently been enhanced with full smoke system fitted and this certainly makes the RV4 stand out during Justyn's display of smooth aerobatics. Justyn is currently looking for sponsorship for this unique aircraft and his Pitts Special. He's flying a wide variety of different displays over the rest of 2005. In you are interested, please visit his website - http://www.invert.me.uk.

The final few minutes of the main display were reserved for the heavier aircraft. The Provost T1 flew a nicely coordinated routine of aeros above the airfield before joining up with the collection's Lysander for a formation pass. The Lysander really comes into it's own during the evening shows with it's landing lights blazing and also it's the time of day when Lysanders would be flying out to France for their special operations. The final acts of the evening were the pair of Sea Hurricane 1b and Spitfire Vb flown in a very graceful way by the two pilots during the sunset itself.

As ever, this was another magical display at Old Warden in perfect conditions. These shows are becoming ever more popular and long may they continue.

 copyright Flightline UK 2005