The End of the Season Show – Shuttleworth Autumn Airshow

Was it really five months ago that we met in rural Bedfordshire to celebrate “The Day of Spring and Labour”? After 5 months 11 Airshows (including a Flying Proms) the happy band of staff and volunteers met one final time this year to close the airshow season with the Shuttleworth Autumn Airshow. The weather gods smiled and a last minute drop in the winds meant that we managed to bid farewell to the season in a very Shuttleworth manner.

The Display programme says push out at 8am. And so it was! An aircraft is no use in the hangar after all.

The Shuttleworth Trust was set up by Dorothy Shuttleworth as a memorial to her son Richard. she wanted to ensure that it would continue as one entity to be used for the purpose of agricultural and aviation education, two interests that Richard was especially keen on.
I for one think its really good to see that the latter aim is fulfilled by the appointment of engineering apprentices and
the number of young volunteers working on the flightline on show days. If you get ’em while they’re young (oh god I sound old and I’m only 43!) chances are they’ll stay. And that has to be good for the long term future of historic aviation.

(at this stage I have to point out that the chap on the far right of the second shot isnt young!)

As the morning drew, visiting aircraft arrived for the show and the Anson was flight tested.The Be2 and Fokker Triplane from Sywell were particularly welcome (and clean!)

Only at Old Warden

An important part of the Collection are the vehicles and they held their parade in bright sunlight for a change. With two welcome returnees both Man and man made taking part.

The Air display began with vintage gliders. A prefect and a T31. Both tugged by the Shuttleworth Super Cub, they managed to get together for one pass.

Then the peace was shattered in spectacular fashion by Peter Teichman in Jumpin-Jacques.

The Luftwaffe were next up. Peter Holloway in his gorgeous Storch and Jez Cooke in the Jungmeister. Slow speed vs aileron rolls in a feast of German engineering.

Back to the good old days now with a spot of barnstorming. Tiger, Maggie, Chipmunk and Super Cub dropped bombs and burst balloons. Only the Tiger Moth managed to make a pass through the limbo before the increasing wind meant that a halt had to be called for safety reasons. Frankly the men on the poles couldnt keep their end up!



There was more entertainment with Bog Roll and Ribbons to follow, but before that the Piston Provost danced a solo number.


The Chipmunk reappeared, to cut the aforementioned bog roll and collect the ribbons. The spirit of Cobham’s Flying Circus is alive and well.

The smell of Castor Oil is one of my abiding memories of Old Warden, its just a shame that the wind didnt allow the odour to linger with Sopwiths Pup and Triplane, Bristol F2b and RAF SE5a braving the gusts





The Magic of Miles. Where else can you see a Miles Falcon, Gemini, Magister and the glorious Whitney Straight in formation together.A one of a kind formation that you can only see at Shuttleworth. We’ve seen the Magister already so lets concentrate on the other three.



This is Spartan! Oh and an Anson.
Art Decco aircraft in close formation, the shiny Spartan Executive gleaming in the sun while the Anson disappeared into the clear blue sky.

While the Lysander went temporarily poorly the Po2 rounded of its debut season in style. Its been a superb first years displays from this wonderful addition to the Collection. The moon, complementing its reputation as the Night Witch

And now a spot of racing. The Swift accompanied by 2 Chiltons. The Red planes and the blue plane had a race.

The main show was rounded off by the Hind and the Gladiator; Silver Wings gracing the blue skies.

The Lysander, now fixed, completed its display while we all waited to see if the wind would drop, the Tiger Moth also filled the time carrying a prize winner aloft.

And then as if by magic, the wind dropped away. A flat calm in the twilight. Bring on the Edwardians!
There was only time for the Avro Triplane and the Blackburn. But what a way to round off the season in the rapidly changing colours of the Autumn sunset.



The final flying of the day was a test flight by the new Hawker Cygnet replica that has been at Shuttleworth for some time now.

And that was it. As the crowd went away happy after a superb display, the aircraft were put away into the hangars for the last time this year.

A very big thank you to all the staff and volunteers for letting me take their photos during the year. Its a privilege to have been there throughout the season.

In the words of the Great Bard.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a wrack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

3 responses

  1. Bob M

    Great photos, The Cygnet and moon and the Edwardians are especially nice. Hopefully we will bring you more Spartan and friends photo opportunities next year!

    October 9, 2011 at 8:37 am

  2. Uncle Rog

    Wonderful stuff Nick, and a wonderful day. But you do need to try to be a bit more enthusiastic! (Or I will bring the grumpy one next time!)
    Uncle Rog.

    October 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

  3. Dodger

    Excellent ..love the moon and Cygnet. Great capture. Here’s to 2012.

    October 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

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