End of a season, end of an era – Shuttleworth Autumn Airshow 2012 (with added Haiku)

The leaves are turning
Like Canute’s tide the winter hastens
They come a final time

This was the end of a tough season and also the end of an era. After the early season wash out and the tragedy in July, from August onwards its been classic Shuttleworth all the way. But now friends gathered for the final time this year to close out the season and mark the end of an era. it was time to say goodbye to Tony Haig-Thomas as he retired as Aviation Trustee. Tony’s influence has been quite simple. Without his guidance and stewardship you wouldnt be reading this. For The Shuttleworth Collection would have ceased to exist as a flying museum long ago.

The merry band emerge
To the flightline the beasts must go
Some smile manically

But THT is not alone
There are others who help make it tick
With much Tea and Cake

And now a farewell
Trustees old and new with gifts
With a voice of old

As I said earlier, when THT took over the Collection it was in dire straits. His unique management style and a lot of hard work by all has made it the Jewel in Britain’s aviation crown we have today. As a new era begins its in rude health, but this season has proved that one cannot rest on ones laurels. It wont be the same without him and his Labradors.

The show also hosted a Cold War jet pilots reunion. And with that in mind there were more classic jets in the display that one would normally expect to see. Gnats, Jet Provost, Vampire and lastly a Hunter all featured. It made a nice change to see them. There was also a chance to see a rare tableau. Richard Shuttleworth’s Moth was hiding on the far side of the field in its original shed (recently restored on the far side of the airfield), the Collections Apprentice Pilot was taken over in Richard’s Railton car and the aircraft was taken out, wings unfolded a readied for flight before its display. A little piece of history in front of the crowd.
The display and the season was ended in typical Shuttleworth fashion with the Edwardians.

The commentator for the show was Roger Hoefling. Its been too long since his voice has been heard at Shuttleworth, lets hope he returns next season.

Sky filled with beauty
Jet and Piston dance on air
Silence gains applause

It’s not often that one sees the provost pairing, but the Piston Provost from The Collection flew with the Jet Provost from The Classic Aircraft Trust in a beautiful example of formation flying before their own solo displays.

The Oil is Castor
The Great War takes the stage
The smell is heaven

Warm jacket required
The brave pilot strides towards the Line
To fly a plank

The crowd is hushed
Time for one last Cold War Jet
The mighty Firefox

The season’s close
Theres time for one last hurrah
Get the Eds out!

This season has had it all, frustration tragedy joy and surprise, it ended with 3 simply superb shows and this fine farewell to Tony Haig-Thomas. Thanks for everything Tony.

With apologies for the really poor Haiku.


4 responses

  1. Thank you for the beautiful photos – most especially those of that big, beautiful Lysander. I agree that Roger’s return is a great thing. I was director of the flying program at Air Fete in ’86 and ’87, but must acknowledge that without Roger’s knowledge and contacts, let alone his brilliant commentary, Air Fete would not have been what it was. When the worst happened, as it sometimes will at air displays, Roger was absolutely unflappable. I cannot say the same for myself as I became flustered which caused continuity issues. I look forward to crossing the Atlantic a few more times and visiting Old Warden. It is the “field of dreams” for those who love old aeroplanes. Thank you again.

    February 10, 2014 at 7:15 pm

  2. Peter Hargreave

    I’m so glad I visited. Truly inspiring photography. Thank you!

    August 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm

  3. Eddie Aldridge

    Fantastic photos. I cannot get to Shuttleworth now, but !!!

    April 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm

  4. Jim Robinson

    You’re right about the Haiku mate! 😉 But the pictures make up for it, the de-saturated Lizzie is just lovely

    October 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm

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