The de Havilland Moth Club International Rally returned to its spiritual home of Woburn Abbey after a five-year absence. The historic parkland grass airstrip was first used by the Club in 1980 but in 2007 the event was moved to RAF Halton and in 2011 to Belvoir Castle. Last year Belvoir Castle was cancelled two weeks before as the relatively new grass strip was waterlogged.
Pilots and members all welcomed the return to Woburn and were pleased to know that next year the Moths have been invited again by the Duke of Bedford, the dates of August 16-17, 2014 have already been confirmed. This year around 80 Moths and vintage aircraft attended the numbers were lower then anticipated due to the poor Saturday weather and the prospect of landing in crosswinds on the Sunday.
Reports suggest that the final count for Sunday was; 66 de Havilland built aircraft, consisting of three Gipsy Moths, a Puss Moth, 36 Tiger Moths, a Queen Bee, two Thruxton Jackeroos, two Fox Moths, two Leopard Moths, seven Hornet Moths, ten Chipmunks and a single Dragon, Dragonfly and a Dragon Rapide (display only).
Most of the aircraft attending on Sunday arrived during the morning and were on the ground in time for the dinner time hour when the general public were allowed in to the aircraft park to inspect the aircraft at close quarters. The air display commenced at 13:30 with Dragon (G-ECAN) flying over for the 'guess the height and speed competition'. A Gipsy Moth (G-AAWO) followed as a tribute to Dame Mary Russell, Duchess of Bedford known as the 'Flying Duchess. She flew at Woburn from 1926 until her fatal crash in a DH.60 Moth in the North Sea in 1937 when she was 71.
Flying from Sywell was the oldest design attending a replica Royal Aircraft Factory BE-2c (G-AWYI) observation biplane, a type which entered service 100 years ago.
A Tiger Moth (DE470) performed a solo aerobatic demonstration followed by 'Captain Neville's Flying Circus' consisting of a; Tiger Moth (NM181), Queen Bee (LF858), Thruxton Jackeroo (G-ANZT) and Chipmunk (G-ALWB). This group proceeded to fly a ludicrous cricket match with footballs hurled out each cockpit followed by the DH Moth Club's traditional limbo and balloon bursting routines.
A Leopard Moth (G-AIYS), Fox Moth (G-ACEJ) and the Puss Moth (G-AAZP) made a formation fly past before the Hawk Speed Six (G-ADGP) operating from White Waltham zoomed across the airfield. The Flying Dutchmen formation of a Piper Cub (PH-VCY) and two Tiger Moths (G-AJHS and G-ADGV) were next. The incredibly agile Fieseler Storch (G-STCH 'GM+AI') demonstrated a STOL landing with a roll out of 50 yards. Chipmunk (G-ALWB) performed solo aerobatics before a Dragon Rapide (G-AGJG) operating from Duxford made a few passes. The Tiger Nine team with Tiger Moths; (G-ACDA, G-AHAN, G-AIXJ, G-ANEM, G-ANEN, G-ANFM, DE470 (registered G-ANMY), G-AOBX and G-APLU concluded the air show with a symmetrical formation not made easy by the prevailing stiff breeze which had prevented Junkers (G-BUYU) and two SE.5A replicas (G-BDWJ and G-CCBN) from attending.