Shuttleworth on a Cold May Evening.
The traditional Medieval English poem begins thus.
Sumer is icumen in,
Well after the cancellation of the opening display of the The Shuttleworth Collection‘s season due to flooding, and the low grey cloud and cold temperatures of this, the first evening display; I am inclined to think it isn’t! However it takes more than a bit of bad weather to put off the volunteers and staff off.
The airfield is usable, ladies and gentlemen, we have an airshow!
The Shuttleworth family fortune came from Agricultural Machinery, and over the past four years the Engineers and volunteers have been restoring The Shuttleworth Collections’s Living Van in their spare time. It was built to house and feed farm workers as they moved around the Estates working the land. They were also designed to be flat packed for export. It’s nearly finished, its coal stove should be fired up any day now and it will take pride of place in the Showground at the Shuttleworth Uncovered display in September. For today it was parked in the car park outside the shop, with other longstanding Collection exhibits, the Blackburn monoplane, the Steam Engine “Dorothy” (named after Richard’s mother) and of course, Andy Preslent!
And so to the airshow. The practitioners of the dark arts of hangar packing do their work in reverse. And while the wet ground made dragging aircraft hard work, but at least some were happy (I have always been a bit worried about him!). The apprentice display pilot gets some practice in! I took the opportunity to get a close look at some of the aircraft, while someone took a close look at me! With a caption competition at the end!
Its always worth taking a closer look at some of the exhibits. I bet you didn’t know what a Tautness Meter was used for, if you take a look round the hangars you’ll find out (this kind of thing is useful for pub quizzes in Cardington so I am told)
If only it were real!
When the flying started, it was cold and dull. On the “bright” side it wasn’t too windy. It was a day for watching rather than photographing so thats what I did for the most part but there were a couple of notable firsts throughout the day. First off Chris Heames displayed a Shuttleworth glider for the first time as he and Frank Chapman flew the Kite and EoN Primary (a plank with wings, there is a photo of its only flight instrument back up the page). There was some impressive formation work with the Trainer and Miles formations.
When the SE5 and Triplane landed, the show was rounded off by Frank Chapman in the Hind. In the cold, close evening air the sound of the Kestrel engine reverberated around the airfield, I felt it through my feet! It was a wonderful display that put a smile on everyones faces, not least the pilot.
Finally, it wouldn’t be the same without a Red Kite.
And so to bed.
I said earlier, there were two “firsts”, after nearly everyone had left and in a scene that could have been a dusk patrol from World War One, Willy Hackett converted onto the SE5a
You know, this place really is magic.