Shuttleworth August Military Pageant 2011
The weather forecast a few days before the show didnt look promising. On the day of the show the Luton Airport TAF was one of the longest I have ever read, promising everything from CAVOK to Prob30 The Great Flood. They were hedging their bets, but as it turned out the famous Old Warden micro-climate returned from an extended holiday and, apart from some gusty winds which ruled out the more sensitive aircraft, we werent hit by any showers, we saw lots though and that made for some excellent photographs.
The question early in the morning was, how long would the good weather last? The general consensus was “just until show time”. That shows you how much we know about the weather. But anyway the good work of pushing aircraft, vehicles and Traction engines out of the hangars began with gusto, and a considerable amount of Tea! Some aircraft stayed in the hangar ….for now, while other exhibits seemed to be missing a propeller. As ever the area normally used as a car park was used to highlight Collection exhibits that weren’t taking part in the display. In this case a Swift and something no so! (Not forgetting the tea supplying Living Van)
And the re-enactors had fun
And then the flying began. Stu Goldspink had to get over from Duxford to fly the Demon. What better way to do it an in Spitfire MH434. His superb display began the flying programme which would be bookended by the Old Flying Machine Company.
The PO2 was displayed and the Collections newest flying aircraft was displayed by Dave Mackay in his final display for a while. If you havent lived under a rock over the past few weeks you will know by know that Dave is off to be Chief Pilot for Virgin Galactic. The PO2 being one of the Collections slowest aircraft, it was a send off in style.
After the flypast the Tutor and Tomtit broke off and displayed and so began a segment of the display featuring the many training aircraft based at Old Warden.
Did someone say Sea Fury? Its not often that we see one at Shuttleworth so the arrival of the T.20 operated by the Fleet Air Arm Historic Flight flown by Lieutenant Commander Chris Gotke was very welcome. Chris had a few minutes spare as the wind precluded displaying the World War 1 aircraft so he flew a couple of orientation circuits over the airfield (he hasnt been here before) at high level before beginning his display. And what a display it was!
Peter Holloway’s Storch made full use of the strong winds down the runway by flying ridiculously slowly and sideways along the display line. We were then treated to a formation I have never seen before (Anson, Gladiator and Sea Hurricane) before their solo displays.
And that was it, for a change it didnt even rain after the show. I know some people made the decision to attend based on a forecast days in advance. If you did that you missed out because it looks like the micro-climate is back.
As we put the aircraft away, the OFMC duo departed for home. It would have been nice to see them together and we may well do so in future. Sadly today, a lack of display practice together for Alister and Stu plus alternative engagements meant it wasnt to be.
On the way home, I found where the vehicle parade ended up! Nice work if you can get it.