Shuttleworth de Havilland: Drive-in Airshow
27th September 2020
Rapide, pictured at an earlier Old Warden airshow
A new airshow for Shuttleworth, which celebrated the de Havilland aircraft company’s place in aviation history, with displays from many de Havilland aircraft.
It is not being repeated in 2021.
About Old Warden
This is a relatively small venue, where flying feels closer to the crowd than in some bigger airfields, even since the change in the regulations. The venue also has a mansion, Shuttleworth House, which is usually open to visitors for at least part of airshow days, park-like gardens (Swiss garden) and huge children's outdoor play area.
Old Warden is home to the Shuttleworth Collection of planes from both world wars and earlier, including original pioneering aircraft such as the Bleriot (identical to the one that made the first crossing of the English Channel). There are around 40 airworthy planes in eight hangars.
The collection is on static display most days throughout the year. There are significant flying events about monthly between May and October, ranging from daytime full airshows to evening proms and additional smaller events.
|Due to fly unless marked static|
|More details of aircraft when announced and on the
show's web site|
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
Superb Flying but also a few disappointments at Race Day
No other airshow is quite like Race Day. There were a few aerobatic displays but most of the four hours of flying was taken up with groups of aircraft flying the same anti-clockwise circuit over the countryside east of Old Warden.
It is evident from social media and forum comments that this generates little excitement for many and for them the airshow season will have finished a week or two sooner.
For the significant crowds at Old Warden on that chilly October Day, however, Race Day represents the very spirit of Shuttleworth. The spirit of Shuttleworth is not jets, nor formation flying, nor flamboyuant aerobatics. The spirit of Shuttleworth is vintage aircraft and vintage road vehicles.
Shuttleworth House will not be open on Race Day. The vintage buses will still run to the house and back.
|North American P-51D Mustang ‘Conrary Mary’ (Previously painted as Miss Velma. Replaced ‘Tall in the Saddle’)|
| ||North American P-51D Mustang ‘Tall In The Saddle’. This was to have been Peter Teichman’s last ever public display, but it was cancelled.|
|Spartan 7W Executive|
|LeVier Cosmic Wind ‘Ballerina’|
|Druine D.31 Turbulent|
|Bulldog (that won the Kings Cup in 2002)|
|Miles Hawk Speed Six|
|Vans RV4 (Pace plane for Pitts race)|
|Slingsby T.13 Petrel Glider|
|Slingsby Falcon 1 Glider|
|Slingsby Kite Prototype Glider|
|Rhönsperber Glider (cancelled)|
|Grob Viking T1 (cancelled)|
|Aviat Husky Float Plane G-WATR|
|Cessna 172F Float Plane G-DRAM|
|Mew Gull: G-HEKL|
|Travel Air Type R Mystery Ship|
|Comper Swift: G-LCGL (Flew in the morning but not during the display)|
|Comper Swift: G-ECTF|
|Shuttleworth Collection Aircraft|
|DH60 Cirrus Moth|
|DH62A Tiger Moth|
|Hawker Sea Hurricane 1B|
|DHC Chipmunk T.22|
|Percival Mew Gull|
|Chilton: G-AESZ (cancelled)|
|Chilton: G-CDXU (cancelled)|
|Sopwith Dove (did not fly)|
|Avro 504K (did not fly)|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc|
|Supermarine Spitfire PRXI ‘PL983’ (John Romain flying a tribute to Lettice Curtis)|
|Avro Triplane IV (cancelled)|
|Blackburn Monoplane Type ‘D’|
|Additionally the following are due to be on static display, but are not flying during the show|
Sopwith Tabloid (Brooklands Museum)
Getting to Shuttleworth Airshows
Shuttleworth's Old Warden Aerodrome is about two miles to the west of the A1 near Biggleswade. It is about 20 miles from junction 13 of the M1 and from the south it is about 30 miles from Junction 23 of the M25. It is signposted from the A1 at Biggleswade.
The Post Code (for sat nav) is SG18 9EP but, as with all shows, ignore the sat nav in favour of local show signs as soon as you see them.
There are links to other route planners in the Travel Advice section.
Accommodation near the show
It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.
There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.
There are three Premier Inn hotels in Bedford, another two in St Neots and more in in Hitchen and Letchworth, all roughly 10 miles away.
The International Hotels Group have a Holiday Inn Express in Bedford about 6 miles away and another in Stevenage, about 14 miles from the show.
Travelodge have three hotels around Bedford, between six and eight miles from Old Warden and two more within ten miles.
Click any of the blue names to go to the corresponding web site. Most of the links already have the location built in, but please check, and change as necessary, the dates, number of rooms and number of guests.
Weather for the show area
The Met office 7-day forecast includes actual and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind speed, wind direction, wind gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.
The BBC's 14-day forecast has overall conditions including and hourly estimate of temperature, wind direction, wind speed and UV range.
Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.