Harry and Al – The Shuttleworth Pageant 2012

There came one day to the house of Shuttleworth in the hallowed halls of Old Warden one Gene DeMarco and his travelling companion Kermit Weeks. And they brought with them great treasures in shipping containers. For Gene was a craftsman of great talent and could produce flying things of great beauty and wonder.

And so a great Pageant was gathered so that the people could gaze in wonder at the flying machines and say as one “Ahhhhhhh”

The aircraft are an RE8 and an Albatros DVa built by The Vintage Aviator Limited in New Zealand and of course Gene DeMarco and Kermit Weeks need no introduction (if you are eber in centraol Florida you have to visit his Fantasy of Flight museum). The aircraft, including a Sopwith Snipe which isnt a flyer but is no less magnificent for it, are destined to be put on display in the RAF Museum. It took a lot of hard work by the Collection and the Chief Engineer in particular to get them at Old Warden for a limited time. the RAF Museum are to be applauded for allowing them to fly over here before they go to Hendon. I take the view that the glass is half full. They could have gone straight to Hendon. They didn’t, they flew at Old Warden and for that I for one thank the RAF Museum that they allowed this to happen.

You’ll forgive me if, just for once, I focus on the visitors first. The Re8 and Snipe were in the Blister Hangar while the Albatros was waiting quietly in Hangar 3. As you can see, the cockpit is minimalist at most (compare this to the shot of the RE8 cockpit in may last blog)

Two Sopwith biplanes together, the Snipe is a non flyer but looks wonderful in its post war scheme, while the Albatros and RE8 drew the crowds once again and made a superb backdrop for the re-enactors. Take a moment to thank the Engineers. Without these guys on the tractor the airshow wouldnt have happened the way it did.

Gene DeMarco flew the RE8 while Kermit Weeks flew the Albatros. He has one of his own back in Florida (built of course by TVAL). He told me that the engine on this one smokes a lot more than his, mainly because it was rebuilt using original parts (some of which are worn) as a museum exhibit whereas his was built to be flown regularly so there was less emphasis on originality. The Shuttleworth magic worked again and their display, in the middle of the World War 1 segment, took place in the only sunshine of the day.

The rest of the World War 1 segment was pretty unique as well. Stu Goldspink made his debut in a Sopwith Pup. With the F2b SE5a and Sopwith Triplane also flying. It was simply marvellous.

The rest of the show wasnt too shabby either. Debuts for Willy Hackett in the Wren and Rex Moorey in the ANEC, lucky men. Add to that Paul Stone’s first display in the Storch and Peter Holloway in the Cygnet and it was a show of firsts!
Here are some of the highlights. Beginning with a Wedding party in the Vehicle Parade. I cant think of a better place to hold your Wedding Reception than a Shuttleworth Show.

And then it was time for the Edwardians. Just the three flyers and not the hoppers this time. But the large crowd stayed and they were rewarded by the Briston Boxkite, Avro Triplane and Blackburn Monoplane, the latter was inspected after the show by a member of the Blackburn family. A Blackburn in a Blackburn. Only at Old Warden

And it all ended up with the Navy coming to the rescue.


One response

  1. JDK

    Nice report, Nick! I envy you the sight of the RE-8 in the air. A far too often overlooked and underestimated type, and as you say, big thanks to all that made it possible to see it over the Bedfordshire skies.


    September 16, 2012 at 11:44 am

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