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Stormy Finale

Ribbons and Bombs
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Chrome and Silver
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Norwegian Hero
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Russian Rebel
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Provost
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The latter half of the season has been kind to airshows weather wise. Old Warden lost their pageant to high winds and the weather seriously threatened the autumn air display held on the 1st October. The day saw everything from heavy rain, some bright sunshine and even a potential tornado! Paul Johnson/Flightline UK Reports from a very autumnal Old Warden. All Photography copyright Paul Johnson/Flightline UK.

Almost..
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Through the rain
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Hawkers Finest
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Wild Mustang
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New Recruits
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Peter Teichman's P-51D Mustang gets a soaking by one of the many showers that plagued Old Warden

The last show of the season may have been a difficult occasion for the Shuttleworth Collection. The weather forecast of very unsettled weather was spot on and there were huge traffic problems on the M25 and A1(M) en route to the show (Thank God for SatNav - Ed) However, a brave band of pilots did make it to the show to join the rest of the collection's aircraft - most notably the Percival Prentice from Air Atlantique at Coventry. The collection hopes to have a Prentice join it's own collection at some point in the future. This impressive restoration project can be seen in the museum.

As the show's first flying display drew closer, the thunderstorms closed on Old Warden. Several different storms could be seen from the ground around the airfield. As the first display, BAE Systems' Avro 19 Anson ran up at the end of the runway, what looked like a twister passed to the north of the aerodrome! There were a few worried faces! After a few passed by the Anson in the rain the flying was suspended again until conditions improved, which they did on and off before a long dry bright spell finally arrived at Old Warden. Also braving the rain were Shuttleworth's own band of barnstormers in the Tiger Moth, Magisters and Chipmunk.

Unfortunately, wind and rain meant that many of the collection had to sit out. Water, delicate canvas and wooden props don't really mix well so all the World War One aircraft had to be scrubbed. However, some of the collection's hardier aircraft did make it out. The powerful Piston Provost was one of the first to brave the elements in the hands of John Allison. Two much ealier trainers looked great in late afternoon sunshine. The Hawker Tomtit and Avro Tutor were the earliest aircraft to make it into the air. They were joined by the two resident Ryan PT-22 Recruits whose more agricultural sound is certainly a head turner, as were their yellow wings against the dark clouds.

A sight that's common at Old Warden, but rarely repeated anywhere else.

The final formation of collection aircraft were the 1930's and 1040's formation of Hawker Hind, Gloster Gladiator. After a number of passes each performed it's own solo display against increasing threatening dark skies.. The thin sliver of sunset that remained at the horizon made for some interesting if not difficult light for the photographer.

As well as the Shuttleworth Collection's own display, a couple of visiting displays did make it though to display. Sadly, the threat of not being able to return to home after his display did force the cancellation of Mark Grimshaw's Jet Provost. A very rare sight at a UK show nowadays is the Sukhoi Su-29 two seat aerobatic aircraft due to CAA regulations. Thankfully, new european rules mean that hungarian aircraft can now be flown in the United Kingdom and Nick Barnard of Yakovlevs fame gave a powerful display of this potent aerobatics machine.

Rounding off the days flying was Peter Teichman in his P-51D Mustang Jumpin Jaques. Despite was now an imminent drenching under really dark skies Peter put on a superb display to end the day, the last remaining light catching the polish surfaces of the Mustang really well against the angry sky.

The weather certainly wasn't kind to Old Warden in it's final display, but the pilots of all the display should be congratulated on putting together a flying display at all in difficult circumstances. The Autumn airshow comes at the end of  a very successful year for the Shuttleworth Collection with a number of firsts and magical moments. Old Warden is always worth a visit for air display days or just for a tour of the museum. In the meantime, don't forget to join SVAS and help keep these wonderful aircraft and air displays going!

 copyright Flightline UK