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Shuttleworth Airshow
Where? Shuttleworth / Biggleswade, UK
When? 04/06/2017

The „Fly Navy“ event / airshow at Shuttleworth is a close cooperation between the Shuttleworth collection and the “Fly Navy Heritage Trust”. As every flying event at the remarkable airfield in Bedfordshire it focuses on vintage aircraft, and this time it did with a special focus on the aircraft of the Naval Air Arm. This second edition of “Fly Navy” in 2017 has put a second chapter to a young, but already successful story.

0SW17 So 1564 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 So 1564 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Shuttleworth 8500 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 So 1557 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 So 1709 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Static 1556 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Static 1922 Zeitler 100 67 85

Shuttleworth Fly Navy Airshow 2017

The event on June 4th was the successful continuation of this theme day, which celebrated its premiere in old Warden in the last year. With an over 100-year old tradition of the Royal Navy, the Shuttleworth Collection took the chance to dedicate one of their flying days to the British naval aviation. This new concept received such a great feedback that „Fly Navy” was once again on the schedule this year. The flying display saw any aircraft taking part that could be related in some way to naval aviation, ranging from WWI up to the early after war years.

SW17 Shuttleworth 8495 Zeitler 700 470 90
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SW17 So 1565 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 So 1720 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 So 1926 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Static 2114 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Pup 2151 Zeitler 700 470 90
SW17 Pup 2151 Zeitler 100 67 85
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0SW17 Scout 2106 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Scout 2106 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Scout 2049 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Scout 2060 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Scout 2067 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Scout 2072 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Scout 2102 Zeitler 100 67 85
0SW17 Bristol Fighter 2230 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Bristol Fighter 2230 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Bristol Fighter 2132 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Bristol Fighter 2180 Zeitler 100 67 85

A main topic of the air show was to collect donations and funds for the 1972 created „Fly Navy Heritage Trust“, which amongst others cares for the heritage aircraft of the Royal Navy. The wide support of the Royal Navy Historic Flight was thus assured and Biggleswade a good place to go and see them up and close and operating from a grass strip. Furthermore the air show was also supported by modern Royal Navy helicopters. A Westland Merlin HM2 was placed in the static display and open for inspection.

SW17 Static 1912 Zeitler 700 470 90
SW17 Static 1912 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Static 1914 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Static 1917 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 UH 1 Huey 1658 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 UH 1 Huey 1678 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Wasp 1692 Zeitler 100 67 85

For the flying program the Shuttleworth Collection did not only put up their aircraft having a relation to naval aviation, but also a great number of guest aircraft had been invited. The largest attraction for sure was the announced of the RNHF Sea Vixen „Foxy Lady “.Still on weekend before she was one of the highlights on the flying program at Duxford. However, when landing back home at Yeovilton, she suffered a belly landing that would keep here on ground for a while and which was the early end of the air show season for the charismatic jet. Noticeably less spectacular to see but a very rarely presented outside its home airfield Yeovilton was the Chipmunk of the RNHF. It was flown in formation with other training aircraft in one of these special Shuttleworth formations.

0SW17 Trainer 1986 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Trainer 1986 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 DH.60 1949 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Trainer 1876 Zeitler 100 67 85

As so often the the Old Warden-based Sea Hurricane opened the flying display in the early afternoon. While the commentators on the old control towers told about flying the Sea Hurricane from an aircraft carrier, the Hurricane passed up and down along the runway axis, all that with a nice sound from its Merlin III engine.

0SW17 Sea Hurricane 1610 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Sea Hurricane 1610 Zeitler 100 67 85
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SW17 Sea Hurricane 2422 Zeitler 100 67 85
0SW17 Hind 1821 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Hind 1821 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Hind 1759 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Hind 1790 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Hind 1953 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Hind 1967 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Hind 2519 Zeitler 100 67 85

The Fighter Collection

This prelude kicked off the airshow for the afternoon, which presented the machines of the Shuttleworth Collection and the invited guests in a proven manner. Already for some years there exists a close relationship between Shuttleworth and the Duxford-based „The Fighter Collection" (TFC). As both airfields are not located very far from each other, there is a constant exchange of guest machines for each of their events. For „Fly Navy" Dave Southwood and Stu Goldspink flew in with the very fitting pair of a Grumman FM2 Wildcat and the F8F Bearcat.

SW17 Fighter Collection 2358 Zeitler 700 470 90
SW17 Fighter Collection 2358 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Fighter Collection 2362 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Wildcat 2378 Zeitler 100 67 85
0SW17 T 6 2023 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 T 6 2023 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 T 6 1902 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 T 6 2026 Zeitler 100 67 85
0SW17 Glider 1713 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Glider 1713 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Anson 1738 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Chipmunk 1979 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Static 2080 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Tiger Moth 1852 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Trainer 1971 Zeitler 100 67 85

Even at a faster pace the Hawker Fury, the last real piston fighter, was flown. The Fury was the Royal Navy’s last piston fighter and still saw operational use during the Suez Crisis, when the first jets were also already operational. Originally that plane flew for the Iraqi Air Force, but its current markings represent one of the British prototypes, which becomes evident from the yellow underside painting.

0SW17 Fury 2298 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Fury 2298 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Fury 2275 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Fury 2289 Zeitler 100 67 85

Supermarine Spitfire & Hawker Hurricane - the BBMF

One exception from the “Fly Navy” theme were the Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF). They did not fit into the maritime slogan, but were an entertaining interlude, when they approached in very close formation for their fly-by. Unfortunately the sky was long filled with clouds at that time, and they even changed their colour from blue to grey at the beginning of the flying display.

SW17 BBMF 2023 Zeitler 700 470 90
SW17 BBMF 2023 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Spitfire 2037 Zeitler 100 67 85

The highlight towards the end of the flying display was of course the big white Consolidated Catalina coming over from Duxford. Seeing this huge flying boat nearly touching down on the runway was a real thrill.

0SW17 Catalina 2053 Zeitler 700 470 90
0SW17 Catalina 2053 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Catalina 2032 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Catalina 2305 Zeitler 100 67 85

A ‘mini Balbo’ at the end of the show saw the formation fly-by of the Gladiator, Lysander and Hind, accompanied by a strange, sputtering engine sound. As the Gladiator left the formation in a shallow dive and disappeared behind the trees, the reason for this unusual noise was unfortunately clear. Fortunately the aircraft came to a stop with only minor damage and no injuries to the pilot.

SW17 Balbo 2467 Zeitler 700 470 90
SW17 Balbo 2467 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Balbo 2473 Zeitler 100 67 85
SW17 Balbo 2479 Zeitler 100 67 85

Old Warden's Fly Navy Airshow

Though the missing Sea Vixen and the Gladiator towards the end weighed heavy on some minds, the Shuttleworth Collection once again put up a strong program. It was a varied flying program with aircraft from WWI up to post WWII and there remains no doubt that “Fly Navy” will most likely see a third edition in 2018. And for the gray sky please on't blame the weatherman, but instead keep a close look at www.shuttleworth.org

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