2012 UK Airshows

AUG 17 2012
Airshows >> UK: Shuttleworth August Evening Show - Review

On the Friday evening before the show I was sitting in a pub beer garden in the evening sun, under an unblemished blue canvas of sky with not a breath of wind in the air to disturb even the tops of the trees. With a similar forecast for the airshow the following evening, things were looking up! Unfortunately though, throughout Saturday the wind gradually began to pick up and the clouds built.

One big draw for me to the show was actually something that would not be flying at all, it was the news that the Sopwith Snipe and Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8 had arrived after a journey halfway around the world from The Vintage Aviator Ltd in New Zealand, with the Albatros D.Va not long behind and now having arrived at Old Warden.

These three airframes are destined for the RAF Museum at Hendon come the winter. The RE.8 and Albatros are airworthy (the Snipe isn’t a flier) and it is hoped that these two will fly at a number of shows at Old Warden, and the Duxford Airshow in September, before their retirement.

Having had a close-up look at the RE.8 and Snipe thanks to the friendly Shuttleworth staff, I can tell you they are superbly finished. In the coming days the three aircraft will be rigged and I would urge anyone to come and view them - you'll be supporting the collection and get to see some exquisite First World War aircraft, what’s not to love?!

After some delicious cake and cider in the café, we took our place on the crowdline for the flying. Looking around at the number of cars parked up and the volume of people, it had to be one of the busiest evening shows I’ve ever been to, which was great to see.

Due to the direction of the wind, the cross runway was in use, offering some different angles for photography as the aircraft departed down the hill and approached to land over Hangar 1 and in front of the trees. The graceful Kirby Kite glider opened the show with the Cub providing an aero-tow.

The trainer element followed with the Avro Tutor, Blackburn B.2 and De Havilland Tiger Moth and Chipmunk. John Hurrell climbed for height in the Blackburn B.2 for a sequence of very tight aerobatics before joining the Tutor and Chipmunk in a tail chase. The Percival Piston Provost took the main runway in the hands of Paul Shakespeare for a similar routine to the B.2 – comparing two side-by side trainer aircraft 20 years separated.

Paired together were Dodge Bailey in the Polikarpov Po-2 and Peter Holloway in the Fieseler Fi-156 Storch, the wind assisting the latter into a dazzling display of flat turns, near sideways flight and incredible slow speed manoeuvres!

Providing a very tight, energetic and dynamic routine was the TRIG Aerobatic Team with Richard Grace and Dave Puleston working hard against the tricky wind conditions in their Pitts’. I certainly hope we see them back at Old Warden in the future.

For the second time in the space of a week we were treated to the sights and sounds of two Hawker biplanes together in the air, with Rob Millinship in the Hind and Stuart Goldspink in the Demon going up to provide an evening Kestrel chorus. Following a series of formation passes they each put in very tight and beautifully flown solo displays.

Sadly, as the wind had not abated, lighter types such as the English Electric Wren, ANEC II, Hawker Cygnet and the First World War and Edwardian aircraft stayed in the hangars. It was therefore up to Keith Dennison to finish off the flying display with a spirited display in the Westland Lysander.

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