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Midsummer at Old Warden

Lympne Memories
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AVRO Ancestry
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Front Line
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Shuttleworth Sports Day
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Over the year you'll hear many go on about the magic of Old Warden. It's all true but to really get a taste of it you really need to attend one of the evening shows. As the sun set over Old Warden park, it is a perfect accompaniment to the some of Old Warden's more gentle displays. The light can also make for the fanstastic and rare oppuntunities. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK found another way to escape World Cup hytseria. All Photography copyright Paul Johnson/Flightline UK.

Red Alert
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Twilight Delights
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Civil Trainers
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Trainer Balbo
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The middle of June sees the longest days of year, and therefore allows Old Warden to fly even later than usual with two and half hours of flying kicking off around 7pm after the traditional vehicle parade. The weather during the day had looked great but sadly as the evening cooled some high level cloud formed blocking the sun for a lot of the evening. It has to be said however, that the cool of evening was rather pleasant compared to the heat of the day.

The show kicked off with a formation display by the Yakovlevs led by Jez Hopkinson. The bare metal finish on the pair of Yaks caught the last few rays of sun very well during their sequence.

The Yaks were the only visiting aircraft. Justyn Gorman had a busy weekend displaying at both Margate with Team Road Angel and Old Warden which meant he was unable to display his RV-4 as planned at Old Warden. Instead he flew Team Road Angel's Pitts Special in a classic aerobatic routine with the obligatory smoke.

Another visiting biplane was the Currie Wot, a post war built aerobatic biplane which can trace it's roots to aircraft built before the second world war which were destroyed in a German bombing raid.

One of the first Shuttleworth displays was a tribute to A V Roe and some of his earlier machinery. We are all very familiar with the big Avro bombers like Lancaster and Vulcan, but not so with his earlier types. Earliest of the original Avros was the Avro 504K which was used as a bomber and a training during the first world war. It's role as a training aircraft continued long after the first world war. It was eventually replaced by the more modern Avro Tutor. The collection example is only one of it's type left flying and wears the appropriate colours of a Central Flying School. The two trainers were joined by the collections Avro Triplane replica which was made the Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines film. As with most events, a spot of world cup-ness had the creep in and the Tri-plane sported two flags of St. George rather than the Union Jacks which were added last year!

A much later RAF trainer in the collection is the Percival Provost T1, one of the aircraft brought by the collection's support organisation, the Shuttlleworth Veteran Aeroplane Society who always welcome more members.

Training is of course a major theme of the entire collection and a massed formation of some of the collections trainers saw a formation of Miles Magister, Miles Hawk Trainer, De Havilland Chipmunk and Bucker/CASA Jungmann flying over the grass airfield before a solo by the Jungmann. The collection has an outstanding collection of aircraft from the Lympne Trials held in 1923. Making a welcome debut performance was the ANEC II, a derivative of the ANEC I that took part in those trials. Despite being woefully underpowered the aircraft performs very well and actual out performed the Hawker Cygnet replica that it flew with. One feature of the ANEC is the very poor forward vision it affords it's pilot!

The vintage light aircraft theme was further explored with the duo of Typsy Trainer and Druine Turbi. The former is owned by Nick Parkhouse who often flies the collection's aircraft while the latter is a resident of the collection.

Some of the Shuttleworth Collection's have been based at Old Warden for many years as they are the original aircraft owned by Richard Shuttleworth. One of these is the Desoutter, an early attempt of an air taxi. It was joined by the oldest airworthy De Havilland Moth owned by the BAE Systems. Two more sole survivors of 1930's aviation are the sporting Southern Martlett and Comper Swift. The latter is making a comeback as part of the collection airworthy fleet having spent the last  few years undergoing a major restoration.

The collection also contains some very rare front line aircraft from the pre-war and early war years. The Gloster Gladiator always gives a spirited display and caught the very last sunset rays of light during it's display which looked superb on it's silver skin. The growl and purr of Rolls Royce aero engines sang out from the Hawker Hind and Hawker Sea Hurricane Ib pair as they closed the main part of the flying as the light slipped away.

The traditional end to a Shuttleworth display if the wind drops enough is an appearance by the Edwardians. The most robust of which seems to be the Avro Triplane seen earlier in the display. Joining it this time was the Bristol Boxkite for a number of circuits in the twilight. Hopping it's ways down the runway was the Bleriot XI which finished another fine evening's flying. If you ever have a chance of visiting one of these flying evening do take it, as it's one of the best experiences on the UK airshow circuit.

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