Shuttleworth October Airshow 2009 - a life in the day
Its nearly 5am in a small town just south of Bradford. The lights on the car go on as it reverses out of is drive. This scene is repeated over the next hour or so in Bristol, Salisbury, Stevenage and many places in between as the Staff and volunteers of the Shuttleworth Collection begin their journeys to the October airshow.
Its an 8am push for the aircraft, there is just time for a quick cuppa after arriving before its overalls on and on with the job
Packing and unpacking a hangar is a black art!
Before they take their place on the flightline the aircraft have to be fueled
Then sometimes the tractor takes the strain
But there aren’t always enough to go around so aircraft are manhandled at least part of the way down the hill
Then it’s a race!
Richard Shuttleworth is always looking on!
At 9am the public are let in, the gate staff have to be there as early as the engineers, on days like this its a pleasure to be there. Just enough time to give the Comet a spruce up! (pun intended)
After the success of the last evening show, the engineers set up the Biff and the Hucks by the main gate for the public to have a closer look at. It seems to go down well
The visiting acts arrive
You can see the grin from here
Peter Teichman's Hurricane (and its bombs) are making their Old Warden debut
The based Dragon Rapide comes out for its first show since its arrival. We had to park Mark Millers immaculate example next to it. Both a beautiful but I think the camo just shades it.
The display was superb
Its WW1 time
Starting the rotaries, and for that matter any WW1 engine, is an art form.
First you have to oil the rockers and prime the cylinders
(the film will be available from the shop soon)
Then pull the prop to start the engine
warm it up, always an art form in a Rotary engine
Pull the chocks
and we're away!
The smell of the castor oil from the engine is unmistakable. The displays are superbly flown, The whole process of starting the aircraft takes 4 engineers and means they are away from the main flightline for up to an hour. Managing the engineers, making sure the right people are in the right place at the right time isnt easy and as ever its a plan that only lasts the first 30 seconds of combat. Lose concentration and aircraft miss their slot, which has knock on effects for the whole show. There’s always time to watch the displays for a moment though.
When they land the engine is shut down (assuming its still running!) in order to reduce wear. Another team of ground crew is dispatched to retrieve the aircraft
The Sea Hurricane goes off on patrol
The beautiful Miles Falcon
The air raid siren wails at the base of the tower. The Me108 has arrived to be shot down again!
Its ok, the Sea Hurricane arrives to save the day
there is a bit of a dogfight and then the inevitable happens
(I thought there was no smoking in the cockpit!)
to the victor the spoils
Without trainers you have no combat types. The mid part of the display was dedicated to the two seat wonders that put up with endless abuse by their pupils. first a couple of visitors
3 aircraft, all Gypsy powered in various marques
Post war, its the Provost's turn
The largest aircraft based at Old Warden is the Avro Nineteen. Buts it puts on a spritely display
Then its the turn of the Hurribomber. As it fitting for its debut at Shuttleworth, it gets the best of the light.
The Demon and the Gladiator make use of the light as well, putting on a nice formation.
Before solo slots
The wind is too strong for the Edwardians, but its just within limits for the Dagling.
And then the reverse of the mornings operation begins. The aircraft are pushed up the hill and the jigsaw game of getting them back into the hangars is begun.
Finally, after 30 years at the collection, George Ellis has retired from flying. Always a gentleman, always willing to stop and talk George will be greatly missed. A small presentation was held after the show finished
Finally the Hurribomber in twilight
On departure a minor problem was found in the undercarriage. It meant it couldnt depart that evening. It was 10pm before it was safely away in the Hangar.
Its just before 1am as the car lights are switched off after a long journey back up the A1. Its been a long but very rewarding day. 5 hours before the alarm clock goes off for work and only 7 months until the first show of the 2010 season. See you there!
This thread is dedicated to all the staff volunteers and SVAS members who make the Shuttleworth collection shows happen. They come from all over the country every 2 weeks during the summer months, to make the airshows happen. Be they groundcrew, pilots security guards, raffle ticket sellers, Photo Section guides, without them all the shows wouldnt happen.
The work never stops. Winter maintenance on the aircraft starts now, planning for next years shows started weeks ago. Its the finest airshow venue on the planet and long may it continue.
Thank you one and all.