Shuttleworth Pageant – The Duckworth-Lewis airshow
Have you heard the one about the airshow that thought it was a Cricket Match? The Shuttleworth Pageant this year (as an aside did you know that Old Warden is the home of village Cricket?) did. The traditional cricket match rain did its best to stop play, however the improving weather forecast prompted a (as it turned out) very wise delay in proceedings by an hour. By which time the rain had cleared, shortly followed by the cloud.
The damp, nay even soaking wet morning didnt put the hardy band of staff and volunteers from putting on a cracking show.
Well it started dry. Dry enough to lull us into a false sense of security and drag the aircraft out. Timing is everything however and just as the last aircraft was out on the line, the rain began. And did it rain! As always at Shuttleworth there were other things to see. There was a boat tailed Delage motor car that was reunited with the Moth G-EBLV as they were owned by the same gentleman at one point in history. And in the hangars there is always something to see, (who’d of thought that a collection of Spark Plugs could be so interesting) and the models in the display cabinet look at their full-sized namesakes and dream.
Meanwhile, Archie decided it was time to start the Tractor!
The display was delayed by an hour to allow the mad weather to clear. Praying for (no) rain and trusting the Radar! But stop it did and there was a scramble to get the aircraft uncovered and fired up in time for the 3pm start.
The cloud lifted steadily and for the photographers, the light also improved. One of the Collection Pilots used his “other mount” to fly in and hopefully fly an Edwardian. They’re a keen bunch these pilots….innit! Unique formations are what Shuttleworth is all about, and the idea of the Pageant is to fly as many of the Collections aircraft as possible in the display (to the exclusion of visiting acts) and this they did! PO2 and an Elf, has that EVER happened before?
And then the World War 1 aircraft came out to round off the flying. Bathed in beautiful light the displays were superb.
Sadly, during the World War 1 aircraft, the wind picked up just enough to go out of limits for the Edwardians so we were denied the perfect ending. That didnt detract from another superb show.
After the show, someone was grinning after converting to the F.2b. Lousy visibility (for a fighter) but lovely to fly apparently.
One last thing, the engineers worked really hard in the hectic half hour after the rain stopped and the flying started, managing to fit a whole mornings work into a few short minutes. Its not all glitz and glamour you know!