Shuttleworth Season Premiere Air Show, May 8th 2016
For their season opener, the Shuttleworth Collection couldn't have had a better start. Fine weather and the lure of the Red Arrows, displaying at Old Warden for the first time in 30 years were, no doubt, the reason for the sell-out crowd at the Shuttleworth Collection's season premiere airshow. Primarily showcasing the collection's aircraft and helping to raise funds for their upkeep, airshows at Old Warden always have a relaxed and friendly feel and despite the large crowd, the first show of the season here was no exception.
Although warm and sunny, a cross-wind blowing across the grass runway meant the planned participation of some show items had to be cancelled. Regardless, an interesting and varied collection of aircraft, both resident and visiting, were still available to entertain the large crowd.
One of those visitors, Hangar 11's P-40 Kittyhawk, in the hands of owner Peter Teichman, flew in to get the show started before the Collection's aircraft started taking to the skies in the shape of the Polikarpov Po-2, Piper Super Cub and Fauvel AV.36 glider. The Harvard, Lysander and Storch followed before, undoubtedly the crowd favourite, the Red Arrows made their much anticipated contribution to the show. Restrictions placed on the Reds meant they couldn't perform their full display, but this didn't prevent them from putting in a thrilling show, despite an enforced hiatus when a Gazelle pilot encroached on their display airspace.
Following the departure of the Red Arrows, the show returned to more sedate, but none the less interesting, aircraft with training aircraft in the shape of the Ryan ST-A, Miles Magister, Blackburn B.2 and Tiger Moth. Formation flypasts of Hawker Hurricane R4118, sole surviving example from the Battle of Britain, in formation with the Hawker Demon and Gloster Gladiator and the beautifully restored Bristol Blenheim in formation with the Avro Anson were undertaken as well as solo displays of the individual aircraft. The Collection's Bristol F.2b and S.E.5A managed to take to the air and display but sadly not the De Havilland Comet or Mew Gull due to the cross-wind. More aerobatics were provided to thrill the the crowd by the Global Stars Aerobatic Team, a team made up of British Aerobatic champion pilots, flying Extra 300/330 and CAP 232 aerobatic aircraft.
All told, the Shuttleworth Collection's Season Premiere Airshow proved to be a great start to the 2016 UK airshow season and a great advert for flying displays at Old Warden.