|Shuttleworth Trust - Military Pageant
"Last Flying German World War I plane to be grounded"
August 3, 2003
|Following just two weeks after Duxford's Warbird extravaganza, the Shuttleworth Trust held its second Military Pageant of the year in the grounds of the Shuttleworth stately home, near Bigglewade. Where Duxford concentrated on World War Two warbirds, the quaint Old Warden airfield hosted a more modest and yet just as enjoyable event. Other aircraft from World War I dominated the flight line from Avro 504K, to Sopwith Pup and to a Gladiator painted in Norwegian AF colours. This is Shuttleworth Trusts 75th Anniversary year and they will be hosting almost a dozen flying displays this year, a few more than in most years.
Many priceless aircraft and rare aircraft adorned the airfield, none more so than the only remaining Hawker Tomtit and the last one ever built. It served with the RAF in the early thirties before being bought back by Hawkers. It was later donated to the Shuttleworth Collection in 1956.
Shuttleworth regulars were all talking of the LVG C.V1, a World War One German bi-plane. They were looking forward to it taking to the air as this is the last season for this unique aircraft. This is the only German World War I plane in the world that is still flying and it is due to go to RAF Hendon shortly, for static display only. When its time came it was towed to the end of the runway, where after some tense minutes its ageing engine finally burst into life. Pilot Trevor Roche display was a little more higher and more sedate than other types flying and was unfortunately short at only a few minutes due to the aircraft's inherent engine over-heating problems. Following its final flight on October 5, 2003, the aircraft will be dismantled and taken by road to its owners at Hendon. The Shuttleworth Collection are hoping to get some air-air video for posterity prior to its final grounding.
Many of the displays involved multiple selections of the aircraft available, keeping planes in the air at all times. I can't remember seeing two Magister 1s in formation and on this occasion they were joined by a chipmunk in a similar and again colourful all yellow RCAF training scheme.
Pride of place for me, was the Avro 19 Anson, which looked immaculate in its new silver and pale blue colour scheme. I remember seeing this 'lady' when it started its lengthy re-build up in Scotland at the Strathallen Collection, in the mid 1970s. It is now BAe owned and has been flying from Old Warden for just a year, following its restoration.
The only non-fixed wing aircraft in attendance was the very smart Westland Scout, resplendent in an Army gloss finish camo' scheme from 1968 and flown by Tim Manna. Pride of place for me, was the Avro 19 Anson, which looked immaculate in its new silver and pale blue colour scheme. I remember seeing this 'lady' when it started its lengthy re-build up in Scotland at the Strathallen Collection, in the mid 1970s. It is now BAe owned and has been flying from Old Warden for just a year, following its restoration.
It was an excellent day for all the family, with vintage cars and a 'Dads Army' routine thrown in.
|Left to right: Pup, Avro 504K, Hawker Tomtit and Miles Magister.|
|Left to right: LVG C.V1 returning on perhaps its last flight.
The RAF were represented by a number of classic and original World War I aircraft, amongst those was the Bristol F2b which was built in 1918 and operated with 208 in Squadron in Turkey in 1923. It was acquired by the Shuttleworth Collection in 1952 and is one of only two flying in the world today.
Tony Haig-Thomas's World War Two TBM-3R Avenger impressed the appreciative crowd following its first level pass, for the 'guess the height' competition, in aid of the 'Blenheim' charity fund. The RAF's memorial flights' Lancaster and a Spitfire made two passes, they were delayed by a glider circling over Henlow nearby, having had to take avoiding action. The fastest flyby of the day was made by an ex Red Arrows Gnat from North Weald.
I never thought I would say this, but one of the most impressive displays was made by an ex RAF Bulldog T1. It's 'fast' aerobatics display was made perhaps more exciting by the small size of the airfield and the closeness of its passes.
The photography here is excellent, aided this Sunday by glorious sunshine, peaking at 31 degrees C. Guided flight line tours were conducted right up until the flying, which started at 2:00 p.m. All historic aircraft, totalling around 30, were parked just feet from the crowd line and the all grass runway was within easy reach of modest telephoto lenses.