Shuttleworth Race Day: Season Finale
4th October 2020
Shuttleworth's DH88 Comet
Shuttleworth bids farewell to the airshow season with 'Race Day', which will include a mock air race.
Expect also a selection of Edwardian and vintage racing cars.
Add to this live music and the chance to visit the museum, hangars and gardens.
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.
This is the schedule from the 2019 event to illustrate a typical flying list. The 2020 schedule will be here when announced
|Due to fly unless marked static|
|Schleicher ASW 28|
Scottish Aviation Bulldog
Midget Mustang (no longer listed)
Mustang ‘Contrary Mary’
de Havilland DH 80A Puss Moth
Chilton D.W.1 Black
Percival Mew Gull KL
Miles Gemini (static)
Cessna 182R (static)
Chilton Red (static)
|Mock Air Race: DH60 Moth (no longer listed), Blackburn B2, DH60X Hermes Moth, Miles Magister, Southern Martlet, DHC-1 Chipmunk |
Nod to Reno: Sea Hurricane
Mac Robertson: DH88 Comet, Desoutter, Miles Magister
Lympne Trials: Hawker Cygnet, ANEC, English Electric Wren
Comper: Comper Swift
WWI Racers: Sopwith Camel, Bristol M1C, SE5a replica, Sopwith Dove
Schneider Trophy Tribute: Spitfire AR501
Famous Racers: Mew Gull, DH88 Comet, Miles Hawk Speed Six
The Wars of the Roses: Avro 504K, Blackburn
Edwardians (Weather permitting): Bleriot, Bristol Boxkite, Deperdussin, Avro Triplane
|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 the Show
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.
National Express do not go to Old Warden or to Biggleswade. The nearest stops are in Bedford (4 miles), Letchworth (8 miles) and Royston (6 miles) with services to Luton and Heathrow airports as well as Cambridge and London.
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.
The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.
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.
Expedia lists a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. They also give, and take, Nectar points.
Click the blue Expedia name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into the link, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates and change the number of rooms or guests if necessary.
The International Hotels Group have a Holiday Inn about 4 miles away and Holiday Inn Express hotels about 12 miles away near Bedford and Stevenage; there are two Premier Inn hotels in Bedford about 8 miles away, another two in St Neots and one in Hitchen, all about 10 miles away.
Weather for the show area
The Met office seven-day forecast includes maximum, minimum and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind direction, gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.
The BBC's five-day forecast has overall conditions including temperatures, UV range and a description that may help to determine how pleasant the day will be for the visitor.
Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.