Shut­tle­worth’s splen­did start

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port & pho­tos: Paul Fid­dian

Where bet­ter than Old War­den, home to an un­par­al­leled ar­ray of for­mer Royal Air Force air­craft, to be­gin 2018’s of­fi­cial RAF100 air­shows on 6 May? With the Shut­tle­worth Col­lec­tion field­ing all ser­vice­able roundel­bear­ing types, plus ex­ten­sive out­side par­tic­i­pa­tion rang­ing from Olympia and Radar Kite vintage glid­ers to the RAF’S Ty­phoon FGR4, the Sea­son Pre­miere was a wor­thy cen­te­nary com­mem­o­ra­tion enjoyed by a ca­pac­ity crowd. The theme was much in ev­i­dence on the ground, where sev­eral cock­pit sec­tions (Buc­ca­neer, Do­minie and Light­ning), a STEM ex­hi­bi­tion and cur­rent RAF ma­chin­ery, in­clud­ing Puma HC2 XW212, joined the usual trade stalls and en­ter­tain­ment mix.

Ty­phoon FGR4 ZK318, wear­ing RAF100 mark­ings, gave the fly­ing pro­gramme a punchy start and a mod­ern link but his­toric types then took over. In the calm air that later en­abled the Bris­tol Boxkite, Avro Tri­plane and Black­burn Mono­plane each to take flight, Shut­tle­worth’s Wwi-era Avro 504K, Bris­tol Fighter, Bris­tol M1C and SE5A could all rep­re­sent the ser­vice’s in­fancy. Join­ing them to make its long-awaited pub­lic de­but was the col­lec­tion’s Sop­with Camel replica. Built by the North­ern Aero­plane Work­shops and first flown on 18 May 2017, it wears the mark­ings of Camel D1851 Ikanopit, of No 70 Squadron in 1918.

The sight of BAE Sys­tems’ Avro XIX G-AHKX in its new RAF Con­ingsby Sta­tion Flight liv­ery was an­other first. It per­formed in­di­vid­u­ally and joined the BBMF’S Lan­caster and ARC’S Blen­heim IF L6739 to cre­ate two unique for­ma­tions. The Blen­heim was dis­played by John Ro­main in cus­tom­ar­ily stun­ning style and for­mated with res­i­dent Hur­ri­cane I P3717 and Sea Hur­ri­cane 1b Z7015 for a pleas­ing fly-by.

Other no­table com­bi­na­tions in­cluded the ‘RAF CFS gen­er­a­tions’ which grouped Tiger Moth, Tu­tor and vis­it­ing Bull­dog T1 XX630; DH60X Moth and Black­burn B2; Hawker De­mon and Tomtit and−from Dux­ford− Spit­fires Ia N3200 and IX MH434.

An­other Spit­fire, the BBMF’S re­cently re­painted TE311, of­fered sev­eral very en­gag­ing passes but Shut­tle­worth’s own Spit­fire LF Vc AR501 was un­able to par­tic­i­pate, not hav­ing ac­cu­mu­lated suf­fi­cient fly­ing hours since its first flight to be signed-off for dis­play ap­pear­ances. How­ever, the nec­es­sary air­time achieved, it stole the show at the venue’s first Evening Air­show of the sea­son on 19 May.

ABOVE: Olympia and (fore­ground) Radar Kite vintage glid­ers BE­LOW LEFT: the first ap­pear­ances of BAE Sys­tems’ re­painted Avro XIX… BE­LOW RIGHT: …and Shut­tle­worth’s Sop­with Camel replica were ma­jor high­lights

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