SHUTTLEWORTH - a real hidden gem - almost hidden down a pretty little lane amidst beautiful rolling countryside. There is so much to see and do here, even without the exciting airshow which lies ahead; a beautiful Georgian house, Swiss gardens, a little zoo and lovely restaurants totally in keeping with the venue. Gourmet burger vans, side stalls and the absolute delight of all children; the £2 stall, where they all came away with little airplanes which they flew through the air making airplane noises. This lovely place, capturing the Dad’s Army theme, really did give you the feel of bygone days. There is a wonderful museum, on and off vintage open top buses and grandparents, parents, children, couples, singles all coming together to enjoy the afternoon with their picnics and deckchairs - a true feeling of nostalgia.
The afternoon started with a procession of pristine vintage cars and open top buses displaying advertising logos which would have been what your shopping consisted of in those days. There was also Military vehicles, a “Tate” sugar van, vintage bikes, one with a side car which looked like a scene from The Great Escape…. no Steve McQueen though!!
On this very hot afternoon, blue skies and fluffy white clouds above; today’s event was the 2018 Fly Navy Day with the focus on Naval Heritage Aircraft from the early 1900s to 1960s. The line up features some truly wonderful aircraft.
The Amphibious Catalina which served in a variety of roles including anti-submarine warfare, convoy patrol and air-sea rescue. The Wasp helicopter with its unusual undercarriage of wheels. Produced by Westland helicopters, it fulfilled the requirements of the Royal Navy as it was small enough to land on the deck of a frigate and strong enough to carry a useful load of homing torpedoes.
The deHavilland Dragon Rapide (DH89A), which flew over from Duxford, is a short bi-plane used for radio and navigation. The Avro-Anson, a lovely camouflaged plane was used for maritime reconnaissance operations alongside larger flying boats. It was named after British Admiral, George Anson. It also has q very different engine noise to the Rapide. We also had a guest appearance from a passing Boeing 747… I wonder what they thought when they looked out of the windows seeing a little piece of history flying past.
Shuttleworth’s own 1937 Hawker Demon flew in, again from Duxford, looking spectacular alongside the Hawker Nimrod. The Nimrod was the Naval equivalent of the Fury Mk.1; albeit with a few modifications to suit her life on the seas.
The Trainer planes; the Chipmunk in particular, is q little two-seater aircraft which replaced the Tiger Moth.
The beautiful electric silver Fairy-Swordfish looked stunning in the blue skies - its success due to its superb handling which made it very difficult for enemy fighters to hit such a slow moving aircraft with the ability to turn tightly at sea level.
Then came the thunderous looking Lancaster. This menacing looking heavy bomber lived its life at sea as a very long range anti-submarine patrol aircraft.
We saw Gliders, Fighting Planes such as the Wildcat and the Corsair with its navy blue body and canary yellow nose. The Lysander had the nickname of “Lizzie” and was built to replace the Hawker Hector. The Hawker Sea Fury T20, a navalmised version of the Hawker Fury was the Royal Navy’s last propeller-driven fighter.
The Navy’s Westland Gazelle helicopters were funnily described as looking like tadpoles or even chicken drumsticks…. and they did.
As promised and after a fun, amazing and very hot afternoon, the weather was ideal for the ever exciting “Victorians” to take to the skies. These wonderful bi-planes certainly had their place up there and what a way to end the day at Shuttleworth…. a truly magical place.