Shuttleworth Fly Navy

Replacing the Flying Festival airshow at Old Warden

Fly Navy

July 3rd

Wessex and Sea King

Wessex and Sea King from Historic Helicopters

In 2019, the very popular ‘Fly Navy’ series of airshows surrendered its Shuttleworth summer slot to a new ‘Flying Festival’ celebrating all aspects of flying from warbirds to vintage aircraft.

The new formula provided scope for a wider range of aircraft to be displayed. The Red Arrows were the headline display that year but equally popular with enthusiasts was the last-minute announcement that nine of the Dakotas taking part in Daks over Normandy would be on static display at the show and that some would fly out afterwards.

A similar format, but entitled Flying Festival of Britain, was retained in 2021, celebrating innovation and remembering the 1951 Festival of Britain when the Shuttleworth Collection’s Comet was suspended from the ceiling in honour of its record-breaking role.

For 2022 the Fly Navy theme returned.

The show was a joint effort between two power houses of naval aviation: the Shuttleworth Collection and Navy Wings. The latter had a substantial presence, in personnel as well as aircraft, and a huge marquee for their members, benefactors and guests, focusing their might on the highest profile naval aviation event of the year in the absence of the show at RNAS Yeovilton. Just outside their private area was the framework of a Maurice Farman S7, which is undergoing restoration at Old Warden.

There was also a substantial input from two other naval aviation stalwarts, Kennet Aviation, who are now based at Old Warden and The Fighter Collection, based at nearby Duxford. (... continued below the table)

Aircraft
Flying
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat G-RUMW (The Fighter Collection) (Flew out but technical problem prevented display)
Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat G-RUMM (The Fighter Collection)
Goodyear FG-1D Corsair G-FGID (The Fighter Collection)

Hawker Nimrod Mk I G-BWWK (The Fighter Collection)
North American T6 Texan (Kennet Aviation)
T6 Harvard (Navy Wings)
Bristol Scout (David Bremner)
Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (Plane Sailing)
Boeing Stearman (Kennet Aviation)
Hawker Sea Hurricane, Shuttleworth Collection
Spitfire MkVc G-AWIISupermarine Spitfire LF Mk Vc G-AWII 'AR501' (Shuttleworth Collection)
Sopwith Pup (Shuttleworth Collection)
Southern MartletSouthern Martlett (no longer listed)
Sopwith Triplane replica
DH82a Tiger Moth (Shuttleworth Collection)
ChipmunkDHC Chipmunk T.22 (Shuttleworth Collection)
Miles Magister 'P6382' G-AJRS (Shuttleworth Collection)
Avro Tutor (Old Warden resident)
Bristol F2.b (Shuttleworth Collection) (Technical problem prevented display)
Avro 504K (Old Warden Resident)
Avro Anson in RAF Coningsby coloursAvro C19 Anson (was BAe Systems but donated to Shuttleworth Collection)
Westland Lysander (Shuttleworth Collection)
Gloster Gladiator (Shuttleworth Collection) (Cancelled: technical problem)
Bristol Boxkite (Shuttleworth Collection) (Conditions not suitable)
Avro Triplane replica G-ARSG (Shuttleworth Collection)
Blackburn Monoplane Type ‘D’ (Conditions not suitable)
Bleriot X1Blériot XI (Shuttleworth Collection) (Conditions not suitable)
Deperdussin (Conditions not suitable)
English Electric WrenEnglish Electric Wren (Shuttleworth Collection) (Conditions not suitable)
Supermarine Seafire (Navy Wings)

Gazelle Squadron: 4 Westland Gazelles
Westland WessexWestland Wessex HU5 (Historic Helicopters)
Sea King Westland Sea King HC4 (Historic Helicopters)
Westland Wasp (Terry Martin) (cancelled: oil leak)
Westland Wasp HAS1 XT420 (Navy Wings)
Westland Wasp (John Heath)
Westland Wasp (Andrew Baker)
Static Display only
Stinson Reliant (Navy Wings)
de Havilland Tiger Moth (Navy Wings)
The Edwardians can only fly if the conditions are perfect. In practice, the Avro Triplane did fly but the others could not.

Navy Wings made one of the biggest impacts, with greater strength in rotary winged aircraft than visitors would normally expect at Old Warden. Especially impressive were the Wessex and Sea King pair, which sat beside each other on the crowdline and flew together during the display but the four gazelles of the Gazelle Squadron and three Wasps certainly made a huge impact, too.

Fly Navy was due to feature four Fighter Collection naval aircraft: the Grumman Bearcat, Grumman Wildcat, Nimrod Mk I and Goodyear Corsair. In practice, the Wildcat was at Old Warden prior to the show and took off for the display but had a technical fault so returned to its Duxford base. The Nimrod displayed as a solo earlier in the schedule in the absence, on the sick list, of the Gladiator and the remaining two Fighter Collection aircraft, the Bearcat and the Corsair, displayed both as a pair and as solos.

One of the display items was a multiple-flypast by a Battle of Britain Flight Spitfire. We all love the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and what it stands for. We also love their full displays, especially if the Lancaster is flying. But there is a downside. The Flight are quite specific on timing and they also require 'clear air' between their displays and the previous and following displays. This inevitably results in a no-fly period, which, at the Fly navy airshow, was rather long. Quite a large number of people left the show during that interval. This was a great pity, as the short sharp shower that may have influenced their departure soon passed and the weather afterwards was better than before. As well as the BBMF Spitfire, the Shuttleworth Mk Vc flew as part of a trio of navy-linked warbirds which also included their Mk Ib Sea Hurricane and the Navy Wings Mk XVII Seafire. The three flew together before breaking into a simultaneous Sea Hurricane solo and Seafire / Spitfire tailchase.

Many more of the displays are Old-Warden based, including up to six Edwardians that were listed as possibles if the conditions were good enough. When it came to the time for their display the weather was better than it had been earlier and both the Boxkite and Avro Triplane were taken to the runway. There was an excellent and long display of the Triplane but the conditions were judged not quite good enough for the Boxkite.

As well as the intended displays, there are incidental flying highlights at airfield-based shows. It was especially good to see the Navy Wings Stinson Reliant and Tiger Moth, which, although not on the display list, could be seen flying when they arrived and left. There were also a good number of interesting privately-owned aircraft, notably a pair of Staaken Z-21 Flitzers.

The flying list is in the table.

Bristol Scout

Bristol Scout

Stinson Reliant

Stinson Reliant

Flitzer

Flitzer

Tiger Moth

Tiger Moth

Fly Navy

3rd June 2018

Bristol Scout

Bristol Scout

Fly Navy was one of the best shows anywhere in 2016. In 2017 the weather and cancellations reduced its popularity. Fly Navy was back in 2018 and enjoyed a repeat of the 2016 excellence.

As its name suggests, the show has a naval theme, so visitors enjoyed a wide range of aircraft, all with naval links. Unfortunately, some of the high profile displays were withdrawn since the original (provisional) list was published (see greyed-out items in the table) but the Collection's Spitfire Mk Vc did fly, solo and with the resident Sea Hurricane, in addition to the aircraft originally listed, including the weather-dependent Edwardians. For the third Old Warden show in a row, the Lancaster made what was billed as a flypast but which, in the event, became a triple circuit with lots of topside in wonderful evening light.

Aircraft
Visiting Aircraft
Sea Fury T-20Hawker Sea Fury T.20 (Navy Wings)
(Sea) Fury FB.11
Fairey Swordfish W5856 (Navy Wings)
Supermarine Seafire Mk17 (cancelled)
Consolidated PBY Catalina
Westland Wasp
de Havilland Dragon Rapide
Hawker Nimrod Mk2
Hawker Nimrod Mk.I (cancelled)
Stinson Reliant (cancelled, now static)
AT 6D Texan
Gazelle x2
Bristol Scout
Grumman F4F Wildcat
Vought F4U Corsair
Grumman F8F Bearcat (cancelled)
Douglas AD4 Skyraider (cancelled)
Grumman Avenger (cancelled)
BBMF Lancaster (Flypast)
Morane-SaulnierMorane Saulnier

Resident Aircraft.

Spitfire MkVc G-AWIISpitfire Mk Vc
Hawker Sea Hurricane 1B
Avro Anson in RAF Coningsby coloursAvro C19 Anson
Hawker Demon
DH82a Tiger Moth
Miles MagisterMiles Magister
DH60 Cirrus Moth
Westland Lysander
Gladiator (no longer listed)
Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Triplane
Bristol F2B Fighter
Deperdussin
Avro Triplane IV
Blackburn Monoplane Type ‘D’
Additionally the following are due to be on static display, but are not flying during the show
Avro 504K
Stinson Reliant
Gazelle
'cancelled' means relative to the original provisional list.

Getting to Shuttleworth Airshows

By car

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 now SG18 9DT (this is to the new entrance. The old postcode, SG18 9EP, no longer takes you to the show entrance). As with all shows, ignore the sat nav in favour of local show signs as soon as you see them.

Driving directions

There are links to other route planners in the Travel Advice section.

By Train

There is a train station at nearby Biggleswade, which is about 40 minutes from London Kings Cross and about 30 minutes from Peterborough. There is no bus service from the station to the aerodrome but there is a taxi rank close to the station.

Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.

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Accommodation near Shuttleworth Airshows

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.

The location is already built in to the link but please check, and change as necessary, the dates, number of rooms and number of guests.

Booking.com

Some More Options

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.

Travelodge have three hotels around Bedford, between six and eight miles from Old Warden and two more within ten miles.

Weather for the Old Warden area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day Old Warden weather forecast from the UK Met Office

BBC Forecast

A 14-day forecast from the BBC

What the forecasts tell you

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.

2022 Show Basics

Date

July 3rd

Airshow links

Show's web site


Times

Gates open 09:30
Flying from about 14:00
Finishes about 17:00

Tickets in 2022

Prices, details and a link to buy are on the show's web page

Traders

Details here on the show's web page

Car Parking

Free, on site

Dogs

This is from the show's web site:
"We welcome well-behaved dogs on leads in the airfield paddocks and parkland and Discovery Hub.
Dogs are not permitted indoors in the Hangars, Shop, Café or House.
Dogs are not permitted outdoors in the Swiss Garden or playground
Assistance dogs are permitted everywhere
Please note that there is no shade in our parking areas.
"

Travel

Driving directions

For links to other travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting There' tab

Photos

Photos taken at earlier fly Navy airshows at Old Warden

 

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