Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Translation: Marc Arys  sbap 2017


Here we go... the hunting season has started... indeed, for all of you who are following us throughout the years, the hunting season for airshow pictures of course!
The opener was the superb Shuttleworth-team's "Season Premiere". And what a Premiere this was!
Once again, the morning atmosphere, the great English breakfast and the various activities gathered numerous visitors at Old Warden. The morning activities were manifold to the greatest delight of all present, rummaging through books and models as to find the kit of your dreams or to buy the book still missing in your book shelve, participating in the "Make & Take" sponsored by the renowned models manufacturer Airfix, visiting the museum hangars, have a look at the restoration workshops with the Spitfire Mk Vb AR501 in final process, have a tour in a double-deck bus dating from the first World War, visiting the Swiss garden to enjoy the beauty of the plants and savor the sweet perfumes of spring, wandering along the static line or take part in a "pilot chat" to know all about their world. In short, something for everyone...
But the main goal for most of the visitors was, of course, the ballet of vintage airplanes and other Warbirds and it was indeed a splendid ballet!
All eras were represented, from World War I to the Second War, through the interwar period. No need to present an exhaustive list, the pictures will talk for themselves, but some of the demonstrations were unforgettable moments greatly appreciated by the photographers like the Shuttleworth collection's Sopwith Triplane, brought back to flying conditions after long years of restauration works... "Dixie II" was well and truly present in the blue skies, punctuated by some little white clouds, at Old Warden airfield.
Also noteworthy was the participation of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) with their Spitfire LF Mk XVIe TE311 without any markings and in an all-black primer paint. Quite rare to see such things during demonstrations. Then, at last, a trio with the Spitfires Mk Ia from Duxford and the two local Hurricanes, performing some formation fly-by's followed by individual presentations including beautiful fly-by's " l'anglaise" like we said.
But besides these high points, we must not forget the other demonstrations, perfect and with various fly-by's just for the photographers, especially with the late afternoon lighting.
To conclude, we can say, that the Shuttleworth Collection, as for the previous years, did a splendid job for this start of the season, emphasizing their know-how in the field of airshow organization.
Through these few lines and pictures, SBAP wishes to thank warmly all the team members for the offered pleasure, their sympathetic and very British welcome, and in particular Miss Ciara Harper, in charge of the media for all granted facilities during our stay.
So, if you never crossed the Channel, drove by the "Dartford Crossing", took the direction to Bigglewade and turned onto Old Warden airfield and the Shuttleworth Collection, take our advice, and do this at least once... If you love beautiful machines and warmly moods, you will certainly not regret this!

 Dodge WC 63  Hillman Minx RAF Staff Car
 The treasure hunt in books and models Flight line visit
 Southern Aircraft Martlet Preparing the planes for the afternoon display
 A visit of the collection is also possible during the all day
 The fine mechanics Sopwith Camel
 The beauty of wooden propellers Fifty shades of metal
 Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2c Avro 504K
 A look into the restoration and maintenance hangar
 Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A in maintenance Van's RV-7 in restoration
 Percival Provost T.1 in maintenance The Spitfire Mk Vc AR501 in final restoration process after 12 years of work 
 Schneider SF.38 Fauvel AV.36
 Comper Swift Ryan SCW-145
 Air Navigation And Engineering ANEC II Hawker Cygnet 6
 Hawker Cygnet 6 Hawker Cygnet dashboard
 Nieuport 17
  Sopwith Triplane "Dixie II"
 Sopwith Pup
 The "Comet"
  Hawker Demon Mk I
  Blackburn B.2 dashboard

 Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia a real veteran! The splendid lines of the Spitfire
 Ready to split air De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 as visitor
 Whether they were pilots, mechanics, track handlers, controllers, commentators, organizers, cashiers, cooks, all the volunteers ensured the success of this day. The following pictures are a kind of homage to all of them we wanted to make. Some did their job in the light and some others in the shadow but this chain was the key of success. Great job Shuttleworth team!

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