Text: Serge Van Heertum & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & Marc Arys - Translation: Marc Arys  © sbap 2015

Jewels in the night

Vintage aircraft enthusiasts are familiar with the Shuttleworth collection, based at the Old Warden airfield not too far from Biggleswade, there is no doubt
All year long, the team is ,giving the best of itself to organize a lot of events an d airshows throughout the season. To conclude this years airshow season, the last was on October 04th with the Vulcan flying its last official show, the managers came up with a “première” in the history of the Collection.

Indeed, on October 17th, the doors of this mythical aeronautical location were opened to a hundred passionates and photographs for a night photoshoot. A unique experience to catch such beauties in the dark blue at dayfall or the pitch-black of the night.

Your team was present at the site around 5 PM to attend the briefing for this event and appreciate a little luch at the museum's restaurant.

Before entering into the colours of the night, we were allowed to take pictures in the hangars giving some nice ligthing effects. This was also the opportunity to admire the acquisition of Mr James Brown, the Hawker Hurricane Mk I (R4118-UP°W), a real veteran of the Battle of Brittain, which will be based within the Shuttleworth Collection. The owner refuses that this airplanes leaves Great Britain, where its history began and continued into the fire and blood of this fierce battle which changed the course of history.

But let us come back to the event, starting off at 7 PM with a safety briefing as planes would have their engines running during the shoot and some photographic technalities given by Darren Harbar, accedited photographer of the Collection.

Six airplanes were chosen to be exposed to the photographers, two on a static display and four more dynamically. In front of the hangars, the Collection offered a classic scene with the Comper Swift and a Polikarpov Po-2.

On the field near the control tower the Pericval Provost T.1, the DH82A Tiger Moth, the Percival Mew Gull and the forever splendid De havilland DH88 Comet posing for the posterity and offering their prettiest profiles to be immortalised into the night…

First we had the Provost and Mew Gull running up followed by the Tiger Moth and the Comet after a very welcome tea break. Indeed the October nights are already a little colder and a little drizzle had started to fall.

In short, a unique and homey experience. Despite the number of participants there was no pushing or shoving, everybody taking pictures at his leisure. This is the British “way of life” ! The shoot ended around 10 PM and we left taking some superb night souvenirs with us.

 

The SBAP-team wishes to thank heartily the entire Shuttleworth-team for this first succesful experience and Catherine and Ciara in particular for their cordial reception during our visit which concluded the 2015 airshow season at Old Warden airfield.

Bleriot XI in the evening lights  (Marc Arys)
A place to be  (Serge Van Heertum) Hawker Cygnet  (Serge Van Heertum)
Mc Curd van  (Serge Van Heertum) The workshop  (Serge Van Heertum)
Blackburn 1912  (Serge Van Heertum) Bristol F2B Fighter  (Serge Van Heertum)
Gloster Gladiator Mk I  (Serge Van Heertum) Hawker Tomtit  (Serge Van Heertum)
Wonderful work of mechanics  (Serge Van Heertum) Light and metal effect  (Serge Van Heertum)
Avro 626 Tutor  (Serge Van Heertum) Parnall Elf (Serge Van Heertum)
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 R4118, the new roomer (Serge Van Heertum)
     

Rare Battle of Britain Hurricane will remain in the UK (Shuttleworth Collection Press release October 7th, 2015)

Fears that the sole surviving Hawker Hurricane from the Battle of Britain would be sold to an international buyer were allayed today, with the announcement that the aircraft has been purchased by a British aviation enthusiast.

British software entrepreneur James Brown is the new owner of Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 R4118, ensuring that this unique Battle of Britain veteran remains in the UK. 

Delivered new to 605 Squadron in August 1940, R4118 flew 49 operational sorties during the Battle of Britain, shooting down five enemy aircraft before being shot down itself. After a meticulous restoration by previous owner Peter Vacher, the aircraft is now regarded as the most historic British aircraft to survive in flying condition from the Second World War.

On his purchase, James Brown said: “R4118 is a remarkable survivor from the Battle of Britain.  When I heard the aircraft was on the market, I knew it was critical that this unique piece of Britain’s history remained in the UK, so I’m very pleased to have been able to achieve that.

“My goal is to ensure that the Hurricane remains in the pristine condition that Peter [Vacher] has returned it to and that it continues to be a regular feature at British air shows for many years to come. Thanks to Peter’s efforts to return R4118 to flying condition, the aircraft commands huge affection from the British public and I’m proud to be able to play a part in her future.”

Discovered in 1995 by retired businessman Peter Vacher during a trip to India, R4118 had stood out in the open for 54 years before it was returned to Britain for restoration.  Despite its exposure to the elements, the airframe was still in surprisingly good condition and, after a three-year restoration, the aircraft returned to the skies in December 2004.

Commenting on the sale, Peter Vacher said “R4118 has been a huge part of my life for many years, but I have other projects that I’m keen to focus on and it’s time for a new owner to take on the mantle. I’m delighted that James’s purchase means not only that R4118 will remain in the UK, but that it will be cherished by a true enthusiast”.

R4118 has been moved to its new home at Old Warden Aerodrome, Bedfordshire where it will be placed on public display within the hangars of the Shuttleworth Collection. 

Tim Routsis, Aviation Trustee for The Collection, said that “the aircraft’s historical significance would make it of particular interest to visitors, and Old Warden felt very privileged to have been chosen as the place people can come to see it on display.”
As well as continuing its participation in major airshows nationwide throughout 2016, it is hoped that the aircraft will also become a regular participant at Shuttleworth Collection events alongside its Old Warden stablemate, Sea Hurricane Mk 1B Z7015.

   
Miles Magister in the night  (Serge Van Heertum)
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(Marc Arys) (Marc Arys)
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(Serge Van Heertum) (Marc Arys)
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(Marc Arys) (Marc Arys)
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Tribute to the firemen present this evening for the safety of all participant. Great job guys and many thanks  (Marc Arys)

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