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Shuttleworth Collection Edwardian Pageant 2016

 

 

"... Edward the 8th’s era with quite a bit of George the 6th"

The Shuttleworth Collection is situated just outside Old Warden in Bedfordshire, arriving at the show the weather was very warm with lovely blue skies – an ideal day for flying. However that was short lived as the wind was blowing a constant 20 to 25 knots across the airfield which was making even some of the modern aircraft tricky to land.

So it was not unexpected that the Edwardian Aircraft were not really in any safe position to fly, to quote the commentators words “if the tops of the trees are moving its too windy to fly”. This was such a shame as it would have been a change to see the old aircraft flying.

But on a positive note the organisers had a plan to show slightly more modern aircraft instead that could handle the varying wind across the airfield.

Sitting right on the long crowd line, everyone could get a brilliant view of the display with no crowding. With people dressed in Edwardian themed clothing and some of the collections old vehicles going round the grounds you could be mistaken for thinking you had gone back in time, with no fast jets it was a more relaxed and homely feel to the whole day. With the stately home and garden open to everyone for the day there was something for everyone.

The display got under way with the De-Haviland DH88 Comet taking to the skies, and proving a very popular choice for openers, many would have seen a replica of this near to De-Havilands factory in Hatfield many years ago. A superb twin engine aircraft that sounded superb being put through a lovely gentle routine. The DH-88 went on to perform with the two Miles M14 Magisters, you could have stepped back to the 1930’s seeing these flying together.

 
 
 

A pleasant surprise with the wind conditions was the formation of nine Tiger Moths that appeared in the blue sky. Arriving in a diamond formation as if they were ready for a fight, the moths were bouncing around a bit by the buffeting wind but they continued throughout the complete display, flying in a “syncro” pair crossing each other in front of the crowds – all at very slow speeds compared to what we normally see nowadays at airshows.

The Hawker Demon in its splendid Silver colours with Red & Blue zigzag patterning across both the fuselage and the top of the upper wings was another bi-plane to take to the skies.

Two versions of the Percival Mew Gull were on flying display, along with a Miles Magister. You could see how the design of aircraft was changing during this period of time shown today going from Biplanes through to mono planes with open cockpits to then closed cockpits all within the space of just a few years.

 
 

What can only be described as a beautiful looking aircraft is the Miles Falcon built in 1936 and the art deco era really does show in this aircraft. The aircraft saw active service in WW2 and is going back to Sweden this week to revisit some of the airfields that it would have used, it was scheduled to depart at 07.30 on the 8th August to start the week long tour to celebrate its 80th birthday with its owner.

A very strange looking aircraft was being towed into the air by the Piper Super Cub, it was a Fauvel Glider, we have all seen gliders with the long sleek body and large wing span, this is the exception to the normality rule. With a short stumpy body and long wings with two tail fins makes this remarkably aerobatic and can perform loops in just over its own body length, which is not that long at all!

A Westland Lysander and a Polikarov Po2 took to the skies and what a contrast between the two, the Lysander was pushing hard and wanting to really show what it was built for, where as the Polikarov was the elder statesman, taking it easy in a laid back approach to flying.

Taxying out to take off was the Avro Anson, built at the famous Avro Woodford site, in its distinctive blue colours she gracefully taxied along the grass to take off and show what this twin engine aircraft could still do. Looking so majestic and graceful in the skies. This has become a regular at airshows now and is well worth keeping an eye for in the future. You could say that some of its design may have come from the DC3 Dakota with its cockpit sitting on the nose and the twin engines but this is a design that worked throughout the 1940’s and was easy to construct with the wooden frames that were then being used.

In this day of health and safety we were treated to an event that took place in the 1920’s through to the 1970’s and that was Barnstorming, or throwing flour bombs at a target. Sadly, none of the pilots managed to hit the target but were very close, the open cockpit pilots were having better luck than the closed cockpit Miles Falcon. Several circuits were completed by each of the three aircraft aiming for the large wooden bullseye target that the ground crew had erected onto the runway line.

The culmination of the show was the two hurricanes flying, the Battle of Britain Flight had to cancel due to the weather but these two are based at Shuttleworth, so were already on site to make life easier. These were not just two any old Hurricanes, these were two mark 1 models, of the Hurricane and Sea Hurricane with fast and slow fly pasts they were the correct way to end todays pageant, which turned from Edward the Sevenths era to more Edward the 8th’s era with quite a bit of George the 6th.

Well done to all at the collection on changing the programme at very short notice and what was very enjoyable day.
   
 
Review by Ian Birdsey
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