Shut­tle­worth sea­son shapes up

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

Much prepara­tory ac­tiv­ity has taken place at Old War­den as an­other busy Shut­tle­worth dis­play sea­son ap­proaches. It is an­tic­i­pated that two of the Col­lec­tion’s dis­tinc­tive pre-war light air­craft, the English Elec­tric Wren and Par­nall Elf, will be back in the air. The Wren emerged from two years of re­fur­bish­ment in Fe­bru­ary 2019 and was flown the fol­low­ing month in some style. The 1923 Lympne Tri­als air­craft cus­tom­ar­ily per­forms brief, low-level ‘hops’, but on 28 March it flew a sus­tained cir­cuit. It is hoped this can be re­peated at forth­com­ing fly­ing days.

With its 115hp Cirrus Her­mes II en­gine over­hauled and re­united with its re-cov­ered air­frame, the sole-sur­viv­ing 1932 Par­nall Elf G-AAIN is head­ing to­wards fi­nal as­sem­bly. Bris­tol F2B Fighter D8096 is next in line for over­haul and will en­ter the work­shop once the Elf is com­pleted.

Flown on 21 March, 1909-built Ble­riot XI BAPC-3 has re­claimed its ti­tle as the world’s old­est air­wor­thy air­craft. Given suf­fi­ciently calm weather, there should be sev­eral chances to see this 110-year-old ‘Ed­war­dian’ air­borne be­tween May and Oc­to­ber.

This year’s Sun­day dis­play pro­gramme be­gins on 5 May with the Sea­son Pre­miere, for which ARC Lysander IIIA V9312’s de­but is lined-up. Other vis­i­tors in­clude a Viet­nam-themed trio of O-1A Bird Dog, UH-1H Iro­quois and the Bronco Demo Team’s OV-10B, plus Aces High’s Dakota and Plane Sail­ing’s Catalina, both of which will op­er­ate from Old War­den. The new Fly­ing Fes­ti­val on 2 June will in­clude the RAF Red Ar­rows’ third Shut­tle­worth show­ing of re­cent years, while the Mil­i­tary Air­show on 7 July will fea­ture up to seven Hur­ri­canes and P-47D Thun­der­bolt Nel­lie. See www.shut­tle­worth.org/ events/air­shows for the full events lists and an­tic­i­pated par­tic­i­pat­ing air­craft de­tails.

The English Elec­tric Wren, once again air­wor­thy, made a full Old War­den cir­cuit on a re­cent test flight

For­merly based at Old War­den, R4118 is to re­turn as one of seven Hur­ri­canes at the Mil­i­tary Air­show on 7 July

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