2005 Edition

 

 

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Autumn Enchantment

Avro Antiques
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Great War Hero's
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On Silver Wings
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Sigh For A Merlin
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Making a welcome return to the calendar was the Shuttleworth Collection's Autumn Air Display. There was no Autumn show in 2004 due to the runway works that should enable the collections De Havilland Comet to operate from Old Warden next year. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All Photography copyright of Author.

 

Dawn of Aviation
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30's Style
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In From the Cold War
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Old Warden's luck with the weather thankfully continued for it's very last show of the 2005 season. As with every show at Old Warden, the whole day is very relaxed. There's no real rush to get in or bag a place on the crowdline, people just enjoy themselves milling around taking in that unique atmosphere that surrounds Old Warden. It's a real contrast to many of the other shows around the country which has made Old Warden one of your scribes favourite venues in recent years.

Many aircraft are pulled out from the hangers even if they are not participating in the flying displays. One aircraft getting an airing and a ground run was the Bristol M1C first world war monoplane. Despite plenty of restoration work in recent months the aircraft remains grounded due to some vibration problems.

The Shuttleworth Collection is much more than just a collection of aircraft, it also houses an impressive collection of historic motor vehicles which is actually how Richard Shuttleworth started his collection. The vehicle parades are a traditional part of flying days at Old Warden either at the beginning or during a break in the flying displays. The Autumn show is the nearest event to the annual London - Brighton Veteran Car Run held on the first Sunday in November and this year the collections 1898 Panhard Levassuer will be attempting the run, though it was unable to take part in the parade due to last minute adjustments.

Commentator for the very last airshow of the Old Warden season was none other than BBC Airport's own Jeremy Spake who gave an enthusiastic commentary throughout the afternoon.

The air display itself was opened by something that is still quite unusual at a Old Warden event - a jet. Namely, Mark Grimshaw's BAC Jet Provost T3 based at North Weald. Later on in the flying display the Jet Provost's forerunner, the Percival Provost T1, a member of the collection flew it's own aerobatic display. Training aircraft form the backbone of the collection and are often over looked by other airshows. One of the most popular displays at the collection throughout 2005 has been the pair of the Ryan PT-22 Recruits based at Old Warden owned by Tracey Curtis-Taylor and Peter Holloway. Peter Holloway has quite a collection based at Old Warden and he also displayed his Miles Falcon and Miles Magister aircraft as a duo during the afternoon. Also Gleaming in the early autumn sun were the Avro Tutor and Hawker Tomtit trainers resplendent in their inter war schemes while De Havilland was represented by three types of Moth; the DH82a Tiger Moth, DH60X Hermes Moth and DH60 Cirrus Moth. Civilian touring aircraft were represented by the Druine Turbi and the Desoutter. The Turbi is a larger two seat derivative of the popular turbulent. The Desoutter was designed for use as a air taxi in the early 1930's and was bought by Richard Shuttleworth in 1935. The Shuttleworth Collection even has it's own "Red Coat" - the Southern Martlet which was used by Butlin's in the post war era to entertain Holiday makers at Broomhall, Pwllheli. Sadly, a repeat pairs display of De Havilland Dove and BAE Systems' Avro XIX Anson could not be achieved as the Dove couldn't make it though the crowd were treated to a display by the Avro XIX by Nimod MRA4 test pilot John Turner.

The Collection also quite a collection of more warlike aircraft from the first world war right up to the second world war. Old Warden is the only place in the UK where you are currently able to see genuine survivors of the first world war flying and the Autumn Air Display saw displays from the Bristol F2B Fighter, RAF SE5a, Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Triplane. Many of the collections aircraft are tricky to fly and it takes great pilot skill to handle them; indeed many of the pilots are current of former test pilots. Andy Sephton, chief pilot at the collection had a tricky moment landing the pup as it was caught by a gust of wind though it was handled well.

Inter war warbirds are very rare aircraft and again Old Warden is a pretty unique place being home to the largest collection of them. Star of the fleet as far as I'm concerned is the wonderful Hawker Hind in the markings of XV squadron and it always looks majestic in the sunlight.

Only representatives of the second world war in the display were the popular pair of Hawker Sea Hurricane Ib and Supermarine Spitfire Vc which wrapped up the main flying display in fine style in the evening light. Andy Sephton put on another fine display in the Spitfire using the clear skies to great effect. The only front line aircraft from the post war years and helicopter in the display was Kennet Aviation's Westland Wasp HAS1 display by Tim Manna who flew a tight routine keeping the Wasp close into the crowd at all times.

As the sun set on Old Warden, the wind dropped just enough to allow four of the Edwardian aircraft to finish the Old Warden season in rare style and magic. First to go was the very patriotic Avro Triplane followed by the Bristol Boxkite and Blackburn Monoplane - The oldest airworthy British built aircraft in the world. Even the Bleriot XI made a few hops down the runway and this is the world oldest airworthy aircraft with the oldest airworthy engine!

This was another fine Old Warden event in great conditions  and a great way to round off the Old Warden airshow season. However, despite Old Warden's charm and great atmosphere you can't help thinking that all the air displays are becoming slightly too samey despite different themes. Maybe a little variation in 2006 may make a great place for airshows even better?

 copyright Flightline UK 2005