14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

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UKTopgun
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by UKTopgun »

Shuttleworth are seemingly going down a similar path to that Duxford adopted around 5 years ago. Inflated prices and ludicrous extra fees to park. Duxford to some degree got away with it due to the unrivalled warbird line ups. Shuttleworth does have a fabulous and in many ways unique offer also, so some will happily pay the new prices I'm sure, but you do tend to get the same aircraft at each show (bit like Dux).

The drive in format worked brilliantly during COVID but makes no sense now. The show is outdoors, so pretty safe COVID wise. An extra charge for a box is just money making and will put many off this year.

The new parking arrangements (non show) at OW seem very odd too. No more parking on hardstanding, but on the paddocks.

I do hope Shuttleworth are not entering an era of draining visitors dry of money as a top priority. They have a magic place but I fear the sparkle is fading.

10 years ago was a golden age for OW displays, dynamic, close and great value. I would attend at least 5 shows each season back then.

I worry the whole place is starting to head in the wrong direction.

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Blackbird
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Blackbird »

UKTopgun wrote:
Mon 25 Apr 2022, 4:17 pm
Shuttleworth are seemingly going down a similar path to that Duxford adopted around 5 years ago. Inflated prices and ludicrous extra fees to park. Duxford to some degree got away with it due to the unrivalled warbird line ups. Shuttleworth does have a fabulous and in many ways unique offer also, so some will happily pay the new prices I'm sure, but you do tend to get the same aircraft at each show (bit like Dux).

The drive in format worked brilliantly during COVID but makes no sense now. The show is outdoors, so pretty safe COVID wise. An extra charge for a box is just money making and will put many off this year.

The new parking arrangements (non show) at OW seem very odd too. No more parking on hardstanding, but on the paddocks.

I do hope Shuttleworth are not entering an era of draining visitors dry of money as a top priority. They have a magic place but I fear the sparkle is fading.

10 years ago was a golden age for OW displays, dynamic, close and great value. I would attend at least 5 shows each season back then.

I worry the whole place is starting to head in the wrong direction.
+1 It's a concerning trend. Very sad.

5944
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by 5944 »

The parking on normal days I can understand - it makes the area outside the hangars a lot safer for visitors. If you've got small children, you don't have to worry about cars driving right past the front of the hangars if the doors are open any more.

The more concerning issue is that whenever I've been recently is that it's so quiet. I went to the food and drink event in the house a few weeks ago. It was barely mentioned anywhere that you got free entry to the collection and Swiss Gardens. You could have a hangar to yourself at times.

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BrawlerO
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by BrawlerO »

UKTopgun wrote:
Mon 25 Apr 2022, 4:17 pm
I worry the whole place is starting to head in the wrong direction.
If the new website is anything to go by I’d say they would like to move away from airshows.

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by UKTopgun »

Agree, it gets marketed as a spa/wellness resort primarily oh and by the way tucked around the side we have one of the world's finest collections of vintage aircraft!

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by UKAirshowTour »

5 magister for the show will be nice

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by lynothehammer »

UKAirshowTour wrote:
Fri 06 May 2022, 2:37 pm
5 magister for the show will be nice
They hinted about that at the Season Premiere, would be nice to see but i just can't justify the ticket price and petrol.

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by cg_341 »

Got to be worth the money for five Fouga Magisters.


👀

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Blackbird »

Fouga or Miles?

Mr Potton
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Mr Potton »

It isn't just on flying days that Shuttleworth has lost the plot. I live locally to Old Warden and used to enjoy popping up to the cafe for a tea and bacon sarnie with my old mum on a weekend, and if you were lucky an aircraft or two might land or take off. We also used to like walking round the Swiss Garden which was priced separately from the museum. Now, you have to pay £15 just to get onto the site. £15 just for the privilege of buying a cup of tea doesn't appeal to me so we don't go there any longer.

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Mr Potton »

I should also have added that the Bedfordshire Steam Fair, a huge and hugely popular annual event which had been taking place at Old Warden for some 20 years, decamped in 2019 when Shuttleworth hiked the hire prices up to an unacceptable level. The event now takes place at Turvey House.

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Cole
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Cole »

Sad to see. its almost as some uni-grad in museums is reading out of a textbook and just slapping cost after cost to try to bring in more money, when infact it has done the opposite.

With the new pricing structure i wont be going to a show. almost 50 pound! by the time i add fuel on its near 90 pound for a few hours of flying!
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Bill16STN
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Bill16STN »

Mr Potton wrote:
Sun 08 May 2022, 8:11 am
It isn't just on flying days that Shuttleworth has lost the plot. I live locally to Old Warden and used to enjoy popping up to the cafe for a tea and bacon sarnie with my old mum on a weekend, and if you were lucky an aircraft or two might land or take off. We also used to like walking round the Swiss Garden which was priced separately from the museum. Now, you have to pay £15 just to get onto the site. £15 just for the privilege of buying a cup of tea doesn't appeal to me so we don't go there any longer.
Agree entirely!
As a motorcyclist there was nothing better than a ride out followed by coffee & cake at the cafe, no longer possible & in my opinion a short sighted & somewhat self defeating move. As you can see, the place was packed out ....
(but I'm sure that there'll be someone along shortly to explain just how wrong I am)
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by aviationanoraks »

Just thinking out loud here, but have the moderators / admin made Shuttleworth aware of this thread through direct contact or links via social media?
If OW are not aware of people’s feelings and just believing what their own marketing people are telling them, then they could be on direct route to failure.
If they are only interested in short-term profits from once only visitors, then so be it, there’s nothing we enthusiasts can do, but if they are interested long term then hopefully they will be interested to know what multiple return visitors (airshow attendees etc.) have to say?

Edited to add,
We have been to airshows there more times than we can remember, and pre-pandemic had a few very enjoyable weekends camping over a show weekend, so do have a passion for the place and want them to succeed and survive for future generations.

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rdchawk
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by rdchawk »

I think shuttleworth are more than aware, as they keep having events go elsewhere instead of there. I have friends in the steam and traction engine society and the event left shuttleworth to go to Turvey because they were fed up at how they were treated by the shuttleworth management and the constant inconsistent increases in prices and cost to hold the event there.

Hence why I think they are charging extortionate entry prices for their airshows. At £40+ a ticket I won't be attending at all, I'll be going to ickwell to see the display from there.
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aviationanoraks
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by aviationanoraks »

rdchawk wrote:
Wed 11 May 2022, 4:39 pm
I think shuttleworth are more than aware, as they keep having events go elsewhere instead of there. I have friends in the steam and traction engine society and the event left shuttleworth to go to Turvey because they were fed up at how they were treated by the shuttleworth management and the constant inconsistent increases in prices and cost to hold the event there.

Hence why I think they are charging extortionate entry prices for their airshows. At £40+ a ticket I won't be attending at all, I'll be going to ickwell to see the display from there.
I would hate to see OW in financial trouble again and have to start selling assets (as happened before) but I can see your point about ticket prices. We have all but decided not to attend a show this year as this plus the fuel cost for a 250+ mile round trip makes for an expensive day out.
Just really hope the appropriate people there are aware and do the something to keep the repeat visitors happy, and the regular passing trade that used to drop in for coffee and cake - one of the small things that seemed to set OW aside from the rest and make it all the more special.

Sorry, have drifted off the reason for the thread.
Hope everyone attending the show has a good time.

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by UKAirshowTour »

Quite an enjoyable evening despite the price to be fair as always at old warden

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by lynothehammer »

UKAirshowTour wrote:
Sat 14 May 2022, 9:18 pm
Quite an enjoyable evening despite the price to be fair as always at old warden
Couldn't agree more, luckily someone gave me a free ticket but regardless when the weathers as good as it was today is there anywhere better than OW ? I honestly don't think so..

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by UKTopgun »

I'm sure a freebie was lovely for you, what's not to like. I was never going to be tempted by this show - 40 odd quid plus huge fuel costs for home team plus a few Bird Dogs and Maggies, no thanks!

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by DOUGHNUT »

Missed opertunity to fly all five Magister's as a formation. I understand it is about the pilots ability / expericance and there was never going to be time to practice. Second point, and this had happened at OW before, why schedule the Magister's so late in the display ? The light was fading even when they took off.

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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Thoughtful_Flyer »

Bill16STN wrote:
Tue 10 May 2022, 12:09 pm
Mr Potton wrote:
Sun 08 May 2022, 8:11 am
It isn't just on flying days that Shuttleworth has lost the plot. I live locally to Old Warden and used to enjoy popping up to the cafe for a tea and bacon sarnie with my old mum on a weekend, and if you were lucky an aircraft or two might land or take off. We also used to like walking round the Swiss Garden which was priced separately from the museum. Now, you have to pay £15 just to get onto the site. £15 just for the privilege of buying a cup of tea doesn't appeal to me so we don't go there any longer.
Agree entirely!
As a motorcyclist there was nothing better than a ride out followed by coffee & cake at the cafe, no longer possible & in my opinion a short sighted & somewhat self defeating move. As you can see, the place was packed out ....
(but I'm sure that there'll be someone along shortly to explain just how wrong I am)

ImageNice bike, shame about the place by Richard Billing, on Flickr
Despite being an Old Warden "fan" (in many ways) I at least partly agree with you.

To be fair I think they have been trying to solve a number of problems and maybe not succeeded as well as they would have hoped. With the old, non show day, access arrangements a significant number of people were slipping in to the chargeable attractions (collection and Swiss garden) without paying. By charging a fixed price for access to the site, regardless of which parts are visited, they stop that happening. However, it of course makes café only access prohibitively expensive.

Obviously if you want to do it at all regularly then the cheap answer is to join the SVAS for £30 a year and have unlimited access on non show days (and a discount on shows). So for less than 60p a week and you are supporting a good cause.

In a way there is a similar situation at a number of National Trust properties. At some, such as a heavily visited property near Cambridge, the café / restaurant is accessible from the car park without paying to visit the house or garden. There is however a car park charge unless you are a NT member although I am not sure it is strictly policed.

However, the café gets mobbed. Whilst I am sure they like the revenue, it doesn't make it a great experience for those actually visiting the property which is after all the main purpose of the place!
Last edited by Thoughtful_Flyer on Sun 15 May 2022, 10:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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BrawlerO
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by BrawlerO »

So despite my earlier comments, I ending up attending this one after all. Because I was going mainly for someone else's benefit I didn't really mind what the situation would be regarding parking/where you could sit etc.
The reality was: slightly more spaced out parking for people wanting to picnic and stay by the car and no restrictions whatsoever in terms of where you could park your camp chair for the flying display itself.
Lovely weather made for a great evening but in terms of 'Drive-in' format it is simply an additional parking charge that the organisers can use for extra revenue. On top of the increased entry fees it feels like a step too far, especially as there is no requirement or restriction on numbers that could be a justification.
Hopefully this is helpful for people thinking about attending in June.
Cheers. Rob

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Roughcutter
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by Roughcutter »

UKTopgun wrote:
Mon 25 Apr 2022, 4:17 pm
Shuttleworth are seemingly going down a similar path to that Duxford adopted around 5 years ago. Inflated prices and ludicrous extra fees to park. Duxford to some degree got away with it due to the unrivalled warbird line ups. Shuttleworth does have a fabulous and in many ways unique offer also, so some will happily pay the new prices I'm sure, but you do tend to get the same aircraft at each show (bit like Dux).

The drive in format worked brilliantly during COVID but makes no sense now. The show is outdoors, so pretty safe COVID wise. An extra charge for a box is just money making and will put many off this year.

The new parking arrangements (non show) at OW seem very odd too. No more parking on hardstanding, but on the paddocks.

I do hope Shuttleworth are not entering an era of draining visitors dry of money as a top priority. They have a magic place but I fear the sparkle is fading.

10 years ago was a golden age for OW displays, dynamic, close and great value. I would attend at least 5 shows each season back then.

I worry the whole place is starting to head in the wrong direction.
Could any of these subtle changes have anything to do with the Faustian Pact made with Lottery Heritage Fund - LHF clawing back their pound of flesh? Don't be surprised to see more "subtle changes" in the pipeline then. Like Duxford down the road - car park charges, fairground pumping out thumping muzac, tat stalls, hospitality enclosures along the crowdline....
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by MiG_Eater »

Totally agree.

I am mainly a fan of fast jets, but always loved the feel of Old Warden displays (that being said in the last ten years or so we had a Hunter, F-86, Sea Vixen, Gnats and Vulcan to name a few)... but the displays are now less appealing to me in terms of participation, and the 'feel' of the place is also worse.

A simple thing they got totally wrong at the last airshow was the parking - something i've never had issues with before, but sitting in a car in a holding field for nearly an hour after the advertised opening time really put a damper on the day.

No doubt the faithful will be back to Old Warden time and time again, but unless there's something really special pulled out of the bag I doubt i'll be attending again this year. (That being said, I know some people think 5 Magisters and a pair of Lysanders fits the 'really special' category... which is fair enough - but it doesn't do it for me!)

elterwater
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Re: 14th May - Evening of Espionage Show

Post by elterwater »

I think the difficulty for people like me who live local is that we're spoilt with both Old Warden and Duxford covering the WWI and WWII eras. Now I'm not saying that's a bad thing per se, it's just that you end seeing a lot of the propeller aircraft which are still on the circuit especially with Duxford aircraft visiting Old Warden.

It's why overexcited people look at me funny when I'm non-plussed about another BBMF spitfire transiting at 3000+ ft over some of the local towns, I've seen them plenty of times at a much closer range at Old Warden :D

I'd like to see a few more whirly choppers at Old Warden for the variety and less of the Duxford based Mustang and Thunderbolt as they just seem to spend a lot of their time diving and climbing into the clouds....

The only other remaining show I've got booked for Old Warden this year is the proms and that's mostly for the orchestra and fireworks :D