Catch the Pigeon – Shuttleworth August Flying Day
Life imitates art, well almost. Those of you of a certain age will remember the cartoon featuring Dick Dastardly and his sidekick Muttley chasing the mailbag carrying Pigeon. Well at The Shuttleworth Collection on 11th August the pigeon got caught.
That however was a minor part of what was a superb flying display, one of the highlights of which was a superb pairs display by the Hind and Demon. Its just a shame that the high winds stopped the lighter aircraft from flying
The runway inspection was carried out in style (by helicopter) and, despite the unfavourable forecast, at least one of the Eds saw the fresh air if only for a short while. Then the usual pre-show formalities were carried out, the Hucks Starter taking part in the vehicle parade for the first time in a while.
The show began with a flypast from the BBMF, in this case it was Spitfire IX MK356 flown by Group Captain Johnny Stringer. It looked stunning against the stomy skies.
Next up, Peter Teichman in his P-51D Mustang, with one of the best displays I have seen him fly in the aircraft. Looping and rolling more than I have seen of late, he made the gun ports sing for the Mustang equivalent of the famous blue note.
For me the highlight of the show was the display by the two Hawker biplanes. We have seen the Hind and the Demon display as a pair quite often before, but this was the most dynamic display from them I have seen, the usual formation flypasts were combined with opposition passes to produce a superb 10 minutes of aviation.
The rare Klemm L25a was a welcome display item, the wind close to its limits but in the end a superb display was flown in testing conditions.
And so we come to the final act, of display and pigeon. Keith Dennison takes to the air in the Sea Hurricane. He flies his usual polished display however when diving down over Home Farm on his third pass he encountered a pigeon and (so he says) his fighter pilot instincts take over! Well maybe not but when flying at speed its impossible to avoid the hapless bird and it hits the Hurricane’s wing inboard of the propellor arc in the left wing (when looked at). As luck would have it, it impacted the leading edge at a point where it would do the least damage, apart from the leading edge skin no internal damage occurred. Sadly I missed the impact, but I did see the rather messy aftermath. If you look closely at the pictures you can see the resultant home in the leading edge.
I have one question though. If Keith is Dick Dastardly, who is Muttley?