1st May 2022
The first major airshow of the year got the season off to a cracking start with highlights in abundance.
The list of special moments would have to include a rare appearance of the Lancaster at Old Warden. The BBMF were very generous with their interpretation of 'flypast' and made two display passes with lots of topside as well as a fly-through, giving everyone a great chance to enjoy a favourite, seldom seen at airshows in recent years.
Also on the highlights list must be the first UK public outing for Arnaldo Leon's diminutive Ryan STM, taken aloft by Scott Butler, and displays by the Edwardians. Despite the tricky weather earlier in the day, conditions improved to 'marginal', which enabled no fewer than three of them to take to the skies. After several attempts, the Avro Triplane agreed to start, Willy Hackett making several passes before giving way to the English Electric Wren. Richard Crockett took the Wren higher and further than most people have seen it for a very long time, a truly impressive dual pilot and aircraft performance. Third in the trio of Edwardians was the Bristol Boxkite.
In the interests of balance, it has to be said that there were a couple of disappointments, too. The list of aircraft had been reduced prior to the show and more losses were announced just before proceedings began. But the highlights, including the late addition of the Anson, far outweighed the negatives. The one thing that could have helped make the day more enjoyable, especially for the families, would have been better weather. The rain that had been forecast earlier in the week failed to materialize but the chilly breeze was persistent for most of the afternoon and the characterless cloud presented a rather drab backdrop. So if the organisers could do a sun and warmth dance next time, as well as a no-rain dance, that would be great.
The show opened with a display by the Catalina, flown by Derek Head. The large hulk made its usual great impression, with a series of passes showing its various configurations. After some debate before the show began, it had been agreed that the Catalina would display and land. However, during the demonstration of the gear-down set-up, the starboard wheel refused to deploy. Consequently, instead of landing, the Catalina returned to base at nearby Duxford where, we were later advised, the Cat landed safely. The commentator quipped that the resolution came following the judicious use of a hammer! This has since been repeated as fact. However, this was a light hearted remark and not to be taken seriously: the gear can be lowered manually but this was not necessary as the problem resolved itself and the gear operated normally on approach to Duxford.
There are some types of displays that visitors can enjoy at Old Warden but that are rarely seen elsewhere. One such is the vintage gliders. At the Premiere , the Fauvel AV36 'tailess glider' drew gentle red patterns over Old Warden and, later, Richard Crockett took the EON Primary for a slightly more rapid descent. Whilst the gliders were gaining height, Paul Shakespeare entertained in the Comper Swift whilst the Fauvel reached display readiness and Claire Tector performed a wonderful routine in the Southern Martlet.
Something the Shuttleworth shows are really good at is combination flying. There were plenty of combos at the Premier, amongst which probably the most eagerly awaited, and best enjoyed, was the Sea Hurricane 1B, flown by John Hurrell, with the Seafire Mk XVII SX336 flown by Lt Cdr Chris Gotke. The Seafire, now part of the Navy Wings Heritage Flight, had not made a public display since 2015. It had been undergoing extensive refurbishment by Kennet Aviation, who are based at Old Warden, so it seemed appropriate that its first outing was in company with fellow Old Warden resident, the Collection's own Sea Hurricane.
Other outstanding combinations were the Magister pair flown by Chris Huckstep and Chris Bramwell; the Sopwith Pup with the Avro 504 and the less rare pairing of Shuttleworth's de Havilland DH88 Comet and Percival Mew Gull.
Dodge Bailey gave the Pilot's chat on the SE5a. You can view the Dodge Bailey SE5a chat on Shuttleworth's YouTube channel.
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.
The Avro Anson has been part of several such combinations at past Shuttleworth shows: duos with the Blenheim and with the Lancaster come immediately to mind. At the Season Premiere, the Anson had the skies to itself, celebrating its transfer from BAe Systems and making its first public display in Shuttleworth ownership.
This was the first of ten airshows being organised by the Shuttleworth Collection this year and the first to use the new entry off the B658 on the opposite side of the airfield to the previous entrance. The new access road provides plenty of queueing space for visitors who arrive early or at peak times, without blocking the local roads. Some people had clearly ignored, or not noticed, the diversion signs and had to be redirected but regulars will soon get used to the new arrangements which appear to have plenty of benefits. Strangely, there did not seem to be the usual efficiency with redirecting cars from the access road into the airfield, nor with the checking arrangements or zapping of tickets but no doubt this will come. There were also a few gripes that those who queued the longest didn't get in first but again, as this is a new feature, it may take a tiny while to bed in. All in all it appeared to be a sensible change that has the potential to benefit visitors and will certainly benefit local road users.
The Shuttleworth Collection appear to be investing substantially in making the venue the best it can be for visitors whilst reducing inconvenience to residents and businesses in the area. They have clearly focussed on improvements to the infrastructure as well as building the collection. And it is the visitors who are reaping the rewards, with a season of regular and varied airshows right through until October.
|Lancaster 'PA474 Leader' (BBMF), flypast|
|Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (Plane Sailing)|
|Miles Magister 'N3788' (David Bramwell)|
|Spartan 7W Executive (N Pickard)|
|Boeing Stearman (Kennet Aviation)|
|Supermarine Seafire 17 (Navy Wings)|
|North American T6 Texan (Kennet Aviation)|
|Ryan STM (Arnaldo Leon)|
|Avro C-19 Anson G-AHKX: (was BAE Systems, now Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Fauvel AV-36 Glider|
|Comper Swift G-ACTF|
|Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk Vc G-AWII 'AR501'|
|Hawker Sea Hurricane|
|Miles Magister 'P6382' G-AJRS|
|Sopwith Triplane replica|
|Eon Primary Glider|
|English Electric Wren|
|Avro Triplane replica G-ARSG|
|Once listed but did not fly|
|Waco YKS-7 (David Peters)|
|Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a (Tom Harris)|
|DH82a Tiger Moth (technical problem)|
|Sopwith Camel reproduction (technical problem)|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb G-ASJV MH434 (Old Flying Machine Company) (technical problem)|
2nd May 2021
The Shuttleworth Collection welcomed the new season with the first of its ten shows in 2021. The Shuttleworth Season Premiere is the first major show in the UK following the change to a later date of the Abingdon Air and Country Show and the cancellation of Duxford's April Flying Day.
Three visiting aircraft were originally listed. These were David Bramwell's Magister, Plane Sailing's Catalina and Ultimate Warbirds' Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt was later cancelled and two BBMF Spitfires were added so there were 5 visitors in the early lists. These joined aircraft from the Shuttleworth Collection, originally 23 but reduced to 22 following the withdrawal of the Sea Hurricane. The locally-based aircraft included 5 Edwardians whose displays, as always, were dependent on perfect weather. The latest published list is in the table.
New arrangements enabled pedestrians, others without a car and small groups to attend shows at Old Warden.
Groups were able to choose between a 5Mx5M car or family box (£10); a 2.5M x 5M box for up to two people, who may also have cycles or motorcycles (£5); and a 4.5M×8M box for larger vehicles (£20).
Everyone also needed an airshow ticket.
|Aircraft due to fly|
|Republic P47 Thunderbolt 'Nellie' CANCELLED|
|Supermarine Spitfire TE311 (BBMF)|
|Supermarine Spitfire (BBMF) (unspecified)|
|Hispano HA-1112 Buchon G-AWHK 'Yellow 10' (ARC)|
|Miles Magister 'N3788' (David Bramwell)|
|North American T-6 Harvard (James Brown)|
|Hawker Sea Fury T.20 (Navy Wings) CANCELLED following a forced landing near RNAS Yeovilton after engine problems on April 28|
|Hawker Sea Hurricane: Shuttleworth Collection CANCELLED|
|DH82a Tiger Moth, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Avro Tutor: Shuttleworth Collection|
|Gloster Gladiator: Shuttleworth Collection|
|DHC Chipmunk T.22 (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Hunting (Percival) Piston Provost T.1|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-AWII 'AR501' (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Miles Magister 'P6382' G-AJRS (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Polikarpov PO2 (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Avro 504K (Old Warden Resident)|
|Sopwith Camel reproduction (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Sopwith Pup (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Sopwith Triplane replica|
|Bristol M.1C, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Bristol F.2b (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|English Electric Wren|
|Southern Martlet (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|de Havilland DH88 Comet, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Fauvel AV-36 Glider, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Schneider Eon Primary, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Miles Hawk Speed Six|
|de Havilland DH51|
|Blériot XI (Shuttleworth Collection) *|
|Blackburn Monoplane Type ‘D’ *|
|Bristol Boxkite (Shuttleworth Collection) *|
|Avro Triplane replica G-ARSG (Shuttleworth Collection) *|
|* The Edwardians only display when weather conditions are perfect.|
May 5th 2019
As has become traditional at Shuttleworth airshows, there was a theme to the Season Premiere. Not every aircraft has to fit into the theme but it does give a focus for several displays and an incentive to introduce some new ones. This time the theme was 'War in Indo-China' providing the opportunity to showcase several aircraft associated with that theatre, especially Vietnam. Several flying displays supported this theme as did two of the static displays; Westland Bell 47 helicopter G-MASH, representing the type of medical evacuation helicopter made famous in the TV series about the Korean War surgical unit, and a Cessna Bird Dog liaison and observation aircraft, much used by the US Army in Vietnam.
The themed flying displays were not collected into a single display or even into a single segment of the afternoon but interspersed with other displays through the afternoon. The first of the themed displays was the Bronco, which left its slot on the crowdline to provide a vigorous demonstration of the aircraft's versitility and the pilot, Tony de Bruyn, showing every angle of this unique aircraft. The Dakota and Catalina, too, left the crowdline for their displays. The Bronco, Dakota and Catalina had been just over the fence on the liveside of the crowdline, the latter two being open for visitors to enjoy rare chance to board: the Dakota for £2 and the Catalina for £5 per person or £10 per family. As well as the static 'Mash' helicopter, the flying display included another helicopter associated with the conflicts in Indo-Chino: the UH-1H Huey and a Cessna 0-1 'BirdDog' flying first with a Piper L-4 Grasshopper and then solo.
|Aircraft due to fly|
|Lysander (Shuttleworth) (flew solo)|
|Lysander (ARC) cancelled-technical problem|
|Douglas C-47 Skytrain / DC3 Dakota "Aces High"|
|Cessna Bird Dog|
|Piper L-4J Grasshopper|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-AWII 'AR501' ²|
|Hawker Hurricane P3717 ²|
|Sea Hurricane ²|
|DH82aTiger Moth ²|
|Blackburn B2 ²|
|Gloster Gladiator ²|
|Southern Martlett ²|
|Desouter G-AAPZ ² cancelled - technical problem|
|DH51 ‘Miss Kenya’ ²|
|Piston Provost ²|
|Sopwith Camel ²|
|Sopwith Triplane ²|
|Avro 504K ²|
|Bristol M1C ²|
|Dragon Rapide ²|
|Eon Primary ²|
|Comet (late substitute for Edwardians)|
|Mew Gull (late substitute for Edwardians)|
|¹Bleriot ² cancelled - conditions|
|¹Deperdussin ² cancelled - conditions|
|¹Blackburn Monoplane ² cancelled - conditions|
|¹Bristol Boxkite ² cancelled - conditions|
|¹Avro Triplane ² cancelled - techncial problem|
|Once scheduled but de-listed before the day|
|Albatros (WW1 Aviation) no longer listed|
|Avro Anson (Shuttleworth)|
|Hawker Demon ² no longer listed|
|SE5a (Privately Owned) ² no longer listed|
|Parnall Elf ² no longer listed|
|As well as most of the display aircraft, the following will be amongst the static displays, but not flying|
|Bell 47 G-MASH|
A second Cessna Bird Dog (in addition to the 1 flying)
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
¹Appearances by the Edwardians subject to optimal weather conditions, including very light or no wind.
² Based at Old Warden. Most, but not all, are part of the Shuttleworth Collection
Most of the displays did not sit inside the theme but were a mixture of family and Shuttleworth favourites. The show opened with a display by Flight Lieutenant Andy Preece of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Mk XVI Spitfire TE311. Although only a short display, every one of the three passes provided a glorious topside.
During the rest of the show there was a fair splattering of the usual Shuttleworth favourites and, in Shuttleworth style, many started with combinations in formation. Some combinations were traditional, such as Spitfire AR501 with the Hurricanes; others more novel, such as the only flying DeHavilland DH51 in the world with the Southern Martlett.
The first airshow of the season at Old Warden will have pleased many Shuttleworth loyalists, who will always be unerringly effusive in their praise, but there were disappointments for those who keep an open mind and judge shows on their individual merit. Shuttleworth aficionados may overlook anything that didn't go quite right but, to be balanced, it has to be accepted that there were a few disappointments. The first was the cancellation of the Albatros. To be fair, it was never on the final list for the show, but it was on the provisional list and many will have regretted that it never made it through to the final schedule. However, the change that disappointed most of all was the cancellation of ARC's Lysander on the morning of the show. The highlight for many at this opening show of the Shuttleworth season would have been to see the two Lysanders in the air as a pair. Although the Shuttleworth Lysander is a regular at local shows, the one from ARC had not flown for over 70 years until John Romain took it for an inaugural post-restoration flight last August. The aircraft was serviceable on the previous day but evidently developed a technical fault that prevented its transit to Old Warden and subsequent display. The novel sight of a pair of Lysanders was a draw for many, indeed the reason many some visitors chose the show over the Abingdon Air and Country Show held on the same day, and the regret was palpable as the announcement was made.
The flying list has been updated to reflect what actually flew at the show.
May 6th 2018
Shuttleworth's first show of the season established a trend for 2018 by celebrating the centenary of the RAF. There were plenty of vintage aircraft with RAF connections - and a modern one, too.
The star of the show for many would have been the debut public display of the Collection's Mk Vc Spitfire, whose engines ran on 25 April last year for the first time in 12 years. Unfortunately that display, although forecast by the Collection, was not possible because the recent wet weather had made airfield conditions unsuitable for the Spitfire to complete its flight testing schedule.
There was, nevertheless, a wealth of other resident aircraft in the flying display, with possibly the broadest selection in terms of age range of any of the RAF100 shows, ranging from three of their Edwardians, including the Blackburn 2, the oldest British-built aircraft still flying, through to some of the Collection's post-war examples.
Visiting aircraft included the Avro Lancaster, which flew on its own and with the BAe systems Anson; the Bristol Blenheim, a brace of Spitfires and, perhaps more surprisingly for Old Warden, a relatively rare appearance by a jet, in the form of the season public debut by the RAF Typhoon, which opened the show.
Display aircraft are listed in the table.
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc (Cancelled)|
|Blériot XI (didn't fly)|
|Deperdussin (didn't fly)|
|Blackburn Monoplane Type ‘D’|
|Sopwith Pup (didn't fly)|
|Sopwith Triplane (didn't fly)|
|Avro 621 Tutor|
|DH82a Tiger Moth|
|Miles Magister 'N3788'|
|Gloster Gladiator (didn't fly)|
|Miles Magister 'P6382' G-AJRS (didn't fly)|
|Hawker Sea Hurricane 1B|
|Hawker Hurricane Mk ll 'P3717' (late addition)|
|Avro C19 Anson|
|DHC Chipmunk T.22|
|Hunting (Percival) Piston Provost T.1|
|Avro Lancaster (BBMF)|
|Supermarine Spitfire TE311 (BBMF) (late addition)|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb MH434 G-ASJV|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk1 N3200 G-CFGJ|
|Scottish Aviation Bulldog|
|Slingsby T.21 'WB935'|
|Additionally there were more aircraft on static display that are not flying during the show|
On the ground there were plenty of static aircraft, especially along the crowd line and beyond the air traffic control tower as well as four cockpits including a Buccaneer; a Tomahawk Flight simulator and pedal planes provided by the Joystick Club. Gliders were well represented by a static air cadet glider, a UK Junior Gliding stand and Glider and BGA gliding simulator.
Live music came from Betty Bluebird, there were the usual vintage bus rides and a veteran and vintage vehicle parade just inside the crowd line. The very popular pilot chat was on the Collection's newly restored Supermarine Mk V Spitfire, AR501.
For the young of all ages, there was Shuttleworth's usual and very popular opportunity to make and paint models in one of the hangars or, if you prefer your models ready-made, there was a display of Model aircraft representing 100 years of the RAF. The models were available for viewing throughout and also flew before the main displays.
The House was open from 10 a.m. and the Swiss Gardens were open for wondering throughout the event.
7th May 2017
The first Shuttleworth Collection airshow of the year is usually the second major show of the season, following the Abingdon Air and Country Show. In 2017 the order was reversed, so the Shuttleworth Collection Season Première was not just the première for Old Warden, but the première major airshow in the UK.
Forecasts of grey cloud, cold temperatures and northerly winds may have reduced the number of casual airshow fans but, although the clouds did cluster periodically, blue skies and some sunshine rewarded the many who trusted the weather gods rather than the weather forecasters and came to Old Warden to satisfy their appetite for classic flying that had built up over the winter.
In the air highlights fell into two groups. The first was a public show debut and a welcome return: the debut of Peter Vacher's gorgeous DH Leopard Moth G-ACMA flown by Keith Dennison and the return after three year of the Sopwith Triplane replica 'Dixie II', which took majestic command of the skies in the care of Chief Pilot Dodge Bailey. There should have been a second debut, in the form of the collection's Sopwith Camel, but this was pulled from the flying schedule just a couple of weeks before the event. It could, nevertheless, be seen on the ground.
|(tap / hover over icon for more detail)|
|Mew Gull (Replica)|
|Spitfire Mk 1|
|ANEC, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Avro 504K, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Avro Triplane, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Blackburn Monoplane Type D, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Bristol Boxkite, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Bristol F2b, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Bristol M1C, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Comper Swift, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Deperdussin, Shuttleworth Collection|
|DH60X Moth, Shuttleworth Collection|
|DH88 Comet, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Eon Primary, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Fauvel Glider, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Gloster Gladiator, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Hawker Cygnet, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Hawker Cygnet (Replica), Shuttleworth Collection|
|Hawker Demon, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Hawker Hurricane R4118, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Hawker Sea Hurricane, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Mew Gull, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Miles Magister, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Polikarpov PO2, Shuttleworth Collection|
|SE5a, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Sopwith Camel, Shuttleworth Collection CANCELLED|
|Sopwith Pup, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Sopwith Triplane, Shuttleworth Collection|
|Westland Lysander, Shuttleworth Collection|
The second group of highlights were the combinations that Shuttleworth always does so well. Amongst them, favourites were the Leopard Moth with the Hawker Tomtit; a larger group of the Mk 1 Spitfire, Sea Hurricane & Mk 1 Hurricane R4118 and the inter-war racers; Shuttleworth's DH88 Comet which flew a number of formation passes with the Collection's Mew Gull and the visiting Mew Gull replica, before reforming into a tail-chase and then solo displays.
A late addition to the programme was a flypast by Parky (Flight Lieutenant Antony Parkinson ) the BBMF's Spitfire TE311. The aircraft is still undergoing its repaint but still looked resplendent in its black undercoat. Another Spitfire to grace the Old Warden skies was the IWM's Mk 1a N3200; this example put through its full paces with the master, John Romain, behind the stick.
A list of the aircraft scheduled to fly is in the table.
As well as the flying programme, on the ground there was a selection from Shuttleworth’s motor collection supplemented by a few visitors. Ground entertainment included live music from Perfect Vintage, a chance to chat with one of the pilots and a flight training simulator by Biggleswade Air Squadron. Airfix Make and Paint offered free model making for the young at heart of all ages.
New for 2017 was an educational entertainment tent, in conjunction with Coventry University, with a flat screen flight simulator, drones and careers advice for anyone interested in aircraft engineering. Visitors were also able to ride a vintage bus to the house throughout the morning and to visit the Swiss Gardens.
The first Shuttleworth Collection airshow of 2016 featured some heavyweights. One of the big themes was going to be bombers, but when the Lancaster became unserviceable and Sally B was not ready for the new season, it changed to heavy aircraft more generally.
The Red Arrows, at Old Warden for the first time in 30 years, and the Bristol Blenheim were amongst the visitors, joining resident heavyweights including the superb Lysander as the Shuttleworth Collection opened its new season of airshows with a sell-out première.
This was the first show at Old Warden since the interim safety changes resulting from the investigation into the Shoreham incident and the implications were immediately clear. On the audience side of the original barrier, a new fence announced the increase in the separation between the crowd and the display. An adjustment, too, in the display line meant, between the two changes, the doubling of the separation for the slowest aircraft to 150 metres and increased separation from faster displays to 230 metres. The fence had not moved very much; most of the extra distance being achieved by moving the display line.
There were howls of protest in advance of the imposition of these new rules and prophesies of consequential doom for airshows generally. In practice, although the aircraft did seem further away, noticeably for those who attend shows frequently, the change may not have had the same impact for the irregular attender, less familiar with the old distances and consequently less likely to make the direct comparison.
|Flying schedule (tap / hover over icon for more detail)|
|Red Arrows (RAF)|
|Avro Anson (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Polikarpov PO2 (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Sea Hurricane 1b (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Fieseler Storch (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Westland Lysander (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Hawker Hurricane R4118|
|Hawker Demon (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Sopwith Pup (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|Bristol M1C (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|RAF SE5A (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Bristol F2.b (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Avro 504k (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|Curtiss P-40M Kittyhawk (Hangar 11)|
|Fauvel AV-36 Glider (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Mew Gull (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|DH88 Comet (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|Tiger Moth (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Ryan STA (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Miles Magister (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Blackburn B2 (Shuttleworth Collection)|
|Avro Triplane (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|Bristol Boxkite (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|Blackburn Monoplane (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|Deperdussin (Shuttleworth Collection) cancelled - wind too strong|
|Dakota (BBMF - flypast only) cancelled - oil leak|
|Previously listed but cancelled before the event|
|B-17 Sally B incomplete pre-season preparations|
|Tiger 9 formation team (9 Tiger Moths)|
|Avro Lancaster (BBMF) overrunning maintenance|
|Mustang Jumpin' Jacques|
|The Edwardians did not fly because of a strong cross-wind|
Nevertheless, the distance change was noticeable for the regular show-goer, more so in some displays than others. This early in the season it is apparent that there are different interpretations of the rules and, as an infringement may cause pilots to lose their authority to display, some are being extra cautious. The new regulations specify distances that are, in effect, starting points, which individual pilots, teams and venues can seek to alter. This early in the season everyone involved was feeling their way a little bit, and being very careful not to offend the rules or the people enforcing them, aware that their every move would be watched by the authorities. Hopefully, visitors will not have been so put off by the new distances, both horizontal and vertical, that they will abandon support for future shows. The new regulations have to settle down. When they do, and when everyone gets a better feel for how they can be interpreted, and how they can be modified, the intimacy of Old Warden will surely return.
In the meantime, and although the greater display heights and distances could be noticed, most of the aircraft were still close enough to enjoy. It may have been the pilots, rather than the crowd, who felt the changes more, as they had to fly a less familiar, less easily followed, and possibly less comfortable display line, flying over a variety of trees, hedges and even buildings, whereas the traditional line was mostly above a safe, clearly defined runway. On the day after the show Mark Jefferies, world champion aerobatic pilot and one of the Global Stars, tweeted "It's hard to fly to the new lines that's for sure".
It was not only the new regulations but also the weather that caused changes to the displays. Although a bright and glorious sunshiny day, there were strong crosswinds, which were too much for many of the older aircraft, including the Edwardians and inter-war racers that had been scheduled to display.
It was the inaugural public display of the year for the Red Arrows, so their many fans had their first chance to see several new formations including the 'Wall' arrival formation and 'Tornado', celebrating that aircraft's 25 years of operational service. Last year's Revolution has also been renamed for the 2016 season as the 'Winkle Rolls' in honour of the late Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown, who held the world record for flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft - 487 - but had died in the previous February.
Because of the proximity of Old Warden to the Luton flightpath, and without height clearance from air traffic control, the Red Arrows were restricted to a rolling display, despite the clear skies. However, the main display limitation came when a stray Gazelle helicopter wandered into their protected airspace. The Hawks were forced to retreat and reform, returning with enough time and fuel just for a break to finish. [Update: on 9th August 2016, Mr Kane pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates Court to 2 offences - inadequate preparation for a flight and entering restricted airspace - and was fined £2,500 with £500 costs. His licence had been suspended between the date of the offence and the hearing].
There are lots more photos of the show on our photo page.
The show's full flying list is in the table and will not be repeated here, but of special note are the combinations that the organisers of the Old Warden airshows are so good at assembling. One such displayed the recently arrived new Shuttleworth resident, Hurricane R4118, alongside its older sister, the Hawker Demon and the Gloster Gladiator. Another showcased an trainer foursome: the Blackburn B2, Tiger Moth, Miles Magister and Ryan ST-A and there was a unique pairing of the Shuttleworth-based Avro Anson with the Bristol Blenheim. It also was good to see a different four-ship aerobatic team. The Global Stars had been due to display at Abingdon, but a commitment in India forced them to cancel. They returned in time for the Shuttleworth Premiere, flying a variety of Extras each piloted by a British aerobatic champion and sporting a synchronised pulsating smoke system.
On the ground the Shuttleworth Collection's Jowett and A B C Motorcycle featured amongst visiting vehicles including a 1941 White M3 Half Track PFO 220, 1942 Dodge WC56 Command Car, 1942 Ford GPW, two GMC CCKW lorries, 1945 Willys MB Jeep and 1942 Ford GPW Jeep. As usual for the venue, the vehicles were on static display and also paraded along the crowdline before the flying displays began.
There was also live music from Perfect Vintage and four flightline tours half-hourly between 10.00 and 11.30, whilst the young at heart, of all ages, got a chance to 'make and paint', absolutely free, with Airfix & IPMS Brampton.
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 9DX 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.
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.
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.
A full 7 day Old Warden weather forecast from the UK Met Office
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.
Car parking is free and does not have to be booked. If you need a blue badge space (also free), this needs to be mentioned when you book entry tickets
Use the postcode SG18 9DX for sat nav until you see airshow signs.
For links to other travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting There' tab