By Nigel Hitchman

On June 2nd another excellent airshow took place at the Shuttleworth collection, this time the theme was military aircraft, though a few civilian aircraft were displayed.  The weather was excellent, although too much of a blustery crosswind for the Edwardians. The display started with the jewel of the collection, the de Havilland DH88 Comet Racer which displayed on return from its display at Duxford, but as seen several times when compared to the Duxford show I had attended the day before, a much closer display and with the sun on it, rather than looking into the sun at more distant displays at Duxford.

Second was the first of quite a few visiting display aircraft, the Fighter Aviation Engineering Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, superbly flown by Steve Jones making full use of the two display axis curving around the crowd line at Shuttleworth, after an energetic start with a big loop, he slowed it down and showed us the P-47 from every angle with some great topside passes too, one of the best displays by a visiting pilot I’ve seen at Shuttleworth.

Post-war trainers were next with the Avro XIX, Percival Provost, and de Havilland Chipmunk displaying with some nice passes by the Avro XIX and Provost in formation while the Chipmunk gave an aerobatic display overhead and then some passes with the Provost and Chipmunk together.

We should have had two visiting German World War I aircraft together next, which I don’t think has happened for quite a few years at Shuttleworth, but sadly the WWI Heritage Trust Albatross D.Va (a very original replica built by TVAL in New Zealand) had a magneto problem grounded the aircraft. Nevertheless, Will Greenwood gave a nice display in his Fokker Dr.1 Triplane replica, before being “shot down” by Shuttleworth’s Sopwith Triplane.

Another highlight was the newly restored Schweizer TG-3A from the Gliding Heritage Center at Lasham. These World War II training gliders were built to train Army Air Force pilots to fly the Waco CG-4 Hadrian and other transport gliders used on D-Day. The TG-3A was once suspended from the ceiling in the American Air Museum at Duxford, but was removed from display a few years ago and has now been restored to fly by the Gliding Heritage Center team. They don’t have a trailer big enough for it, so it was towed behind a Piper Super Cub from Lasham to Old Warden and then back again after its display, that’s going to be at least 80 miles each way, quite a trip.

A very nice display from Shuttleworth’s Polikarpov Po-2 filled in while the TG-3A was being towed aloft and then this was followed by the “Gazelle Squadron” flying 4 Westland/Aerospatiale Gazelles representing Navy, Army, and Air Force plus the Empire Test Pilot School, they have been displaying for ten years now and always do a good job with their four-ship formation and tail chases and opposition passes.

The next display included the Shuttleworth Sopwith Pup and Avro 504.  The Bristol M1C was scheduled to fly as well, but it was aborted due to an engine issue. Something different was display by two Austers, Simon Tilling’s WWII veteran Taylorcraft Plus D/Auster 1 LB375/G-AHGW and Kevin Hale’s 1946 Auster AOP.6 TW536/G-BNGE

Shuttleworth’s Hawker Tomtit gave a spirited display while the EoN Primary glider was towed up ready for a short demonstration as it glided down to earth, always amazing watching this fly with the pilot perched out on his completely exposed seat in front of the wing. Shuttleworth’s combat veteran RAE SE5A gave an excellent display as usual.

The highlight for many was the Shuttleworth debut of JERSEY JERK the CAC CA-18 (P51D) Mustang of Fighter Aviation Engineering which looked superb in the late afternoon sunshine, having done its first UK display at Duxford the day before.

Then came the big set piece with six aircraft taking to the skies together to give us a mini Balbo with two three-ship formations following each other the first with the Spitfire, Hurricane, and Gladiator and the second with the Avro XIX, Lysander, and Provost, they looked great together, although a pity they did their pass from right to left, rather than the visually much better left to right pass curving around the control tower flying towards the sun as done so well by the Mercury formation at the previous show.

The Avro XIX and Provost then split up for a pairs display while the Lysander joined the Spitfire, Hurricane, and Gladiator for a Missing Man tribute to Squadron Leader Mark Long of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight who sadly died at the controls of Spitfire Mk LF IXe MK356, a D-Day veteran, the previous week. Unfortunately, the Gladiator didn’t catch up with the formation in time for the Spitfire pull up which was well before the formation reached the crowd.

Each aircraft then gave individual displays in what was by then perfect lighting, the Hurricane display was particularly good, really showing off the aircraft well.

With it too windy for the Edwardians, the display was completed by the Hawker Cygnet, Don Cashmore’s faithful replica of Sydney Camm’s original design which competed in the Royal Aero Club Light airplane competitions at Lympne in 1924-26 doing very well winning the handicap race in both 25 and 26.

Another great Shuttleworth display with several interesting visiting aircraft complimenting the fabulous Shuttleworth collection aircraft that were flown. The next display is the Festival of Flight which is a three-day event including a vintage fly-in with a short evening display on Friday 28 June and full afternoon displays on 29 and 30th.