Shuttleworth’s Bedfordshire Vintage Air Show

One of many formations on the day, this 'home team' Shuttleworth formation has no less than three unique aircraft, and the fourth, the DH.60X Moth, top right, historic for other reasons - Richard Shuttleworth's own machine. From L-R, the Blackburn B-2, Hawker Tomtit and Avro Tutor are all the only surviving and flying examples of their types. [photo by Nigel Hitchman]

By Nigel Hitchman with James Kightly

A fabulous day at the Shuttleworth collection at Old Warden, today, 3 Sept 2023. One of the best airshows I’ve been to there for quite a while, with a great selection of aircraft flying, including quite a few new visiting aircraft, and some great formations and pairings.

Billed by the Shuttleworth Collection, at Old Warden, Biggleswade, Bedfordhire, UK, as “… a unique celebration of Shuttleworth’s Steam and Agricultural Heritage, accompanied by a thrilling air display.” Blessed with exceptional weather even in a fine summer, the Collection are to be commended for putting together both a diverse and extensive program, with many of the Collection’s own aircraft excellently supplemented by a remarkable number of visitors.

Of interest to us in the air, there were lots of highlights, but perhaps for me the best was the Hawker Cygnet flying with the English Electric Wren. It was also great to see the Deperdussin do a few quite long hops today and the Bleriot attempted a flight – but it seemed the engine was not quite running right, and it failed to get airborne on the first run. Despite some engine adjustments, they proved unsuccessful, so we wait to see it fly again another day.

The show started with a great formation display with the Avro Tutor, Hawker Tomtit [See the separate feature HERE on how this aircraft has been returned to the air] de Havilland DH60 Moth and Blackburn B2.

Then, three visitors flew together: the Staggerwing, Travel Air D4000 and Waco UPF-7. This was an interesting combination of American vintage aircraft. Later we saw the Travel Air Type R “Mystery Ship” and Miles Hawk Speed Six flying together, the second racer slot after the Comet and two Mew Gulls. Two Dragon Rapides together looked good and a very unusual pairing of the Polikarpov Po-2 and Avro 504 replica which was great to see.

The Czerwiński-Shenstone Harbinger glider was a unique visitor and flown together with the Chipmunk. It was particularly appropriate with the Spitfire flying around in the background, as Bev Shenstone was one of the main design engineers working on Spitfire development. With many other unique Shuttleworth aircraft flying it was a really great day! Nigel Hitchman

Top; the de Havilland Canada Chipmunk, Czerwiński-Shenstone Harbinger glider in the middle, and the Spitfire in the background. [Photo by Nigel Hitchman]


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