Midsummer (?) at Shuttleworth

Its june, its apparently the first weekend of summer. There is one thing about this that will always be the same in England; the weather will let you down.

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.

To add to the strong gusty wind (that was still out-staying its welcome from the May shows) we now had white cloud and showers. As ever the hardy souls of the Shuttleworth Collection weren’t put off.  Although the man made cloud late in the show did make for some interesting photo opportunities.

As ever the day began early with the team getting the aircraft out of the Hangars ready for the days flying. Its usually a case of many hands make light work, but sometimes you dont need many hands! Incidentally its well worth taking the time to have a look at some of the displays in the hangars, there is a superb collection of scratchbuilt models and a beautiful Le Rhone rotary engine. Its almost a work of art! Its not only the aircraft that need moving, Dorothy has to be pulled into place opposite the Restaurant (you’ll note that Andy P is trying to make himself presentable for the camera!)

Also, the newest member of the Collection was on display, the 1937 Kirby Kite glider. Its been seen here before and is now here permanently.

Speaking of gliders, before the display the Grunau Baby was flown for the first time in 20 years. Even in the strong winds it performed faultlessly and flew again in the display. It even managed to stay wings level after its first landing, such was the strength of the wind down the runway. At the same time the Sea Hurricane was due to fly on a convex. A slight issue stopped it flying in the display (a failure with the seat / stick interface was mentioned at one point!)

And while the engineers had a well deserved rest

And one old Serviceman gazed on at another, from an earlier time

The vehicle parade got underway, as ever the spirit was well and truly entered into, eh Nurse?

The flying display was begin with a formation of Avro Tutor and Polikarpov PO2, both of which can be started by the Model-T Ford based Hucks Starter.

Then the white Moth and the blue Moth had a race!

Then it was the turn of the Bristol F2b to make its first appearance of the season

All this before something pretty special happened, a trio of Hawkers too to the skies in a formation that is totally unique. Lead by the Tomtit the Hind and Demon did one flyby before the sound of a pair of Kestrels filled the air over Bedfordshire, and what a wonderful sound it was!

The Gladiator and Provost flew another unique formation.

Before we were entertained by a pair of Chiltons. One old one new both wonderful and tricky to fly in the conditions, but flown they were and beautifully too. Add to this the Comper Swift and Southern Martlet and you have (yet another) unique flypast. At the end everyone was all smiles.

The Anson and Lysander provided a contast in both size and speed. With the Lizze taxying in through the smoke from the final act.

That final act was the quite stupendous Mark Jeffries in his Extra 300C. Still pictures can never do a display like this justice and in the grey conditions it was doubly hard to see the intricate patterns being woven in the sky.

And that was it. The Sea Hurricane has to scrub its display after warming up because of the rain that started before the end of Mark’s display. The Pilot quite considerately made sure that any leaks in the canopy didnt get the seat wet and the Engineers made sure that any water that made it under the wings didnt get as far as the ground.

Can someone turn off the wind now please!


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