Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Pierre Taquet & Philippe Huberlant - Translation: Marc Arys     © sbap 2018
 

As usual, the Shuttleworth Collection opened the 2018 airshow season in the UK. And believe me, the very dynamic team from Old Warden Airfield set a very high standard for its Season Premiere, celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force. May 06th was a bright sunshiny day with a real superb show. During the morning, the numerous visitors (the show was sold out online…) had the leisure to wander around and admire the machines, wether they be riding or flying machines, have some fresh air in the Swiss Garden, run across some Majesty's people dressed as in the past or benefit from musical activities. And as appropriate, the Royal Air Force was also present to mark this centenary with couple of exhibitions.
Of course, all awaited eagerly the afternoon show, which started off at 14:00 sharp, with the demonstration of the floweret of the Royal Air Force, the Typhoon FGR4 wearing the logo for these 100 years. After his show, the aircraft assigned to the 29(R) Squadron departed for the Abington airshow before rejoining his home base at Coningsby. After this powerful opening, we had a festival of superb aircraft, having carried loudly and clearly the colours of the Royal Air Force, such as the BBMF Lancaster or the Spitfire LF Mk XVIe (TE311), which just received his new livery in the colours of Group Captain Aleksander Gabszewicz, commanding officer of the 131 (Polish) Wing. Remember the last season the TE311 was presented in primary black colour.

A real festival of Hurricanes and Spitfires to emphasize the blessed age of the RAF. However, there was also a little deception regarding the Spitfire Mk Vb (AR501), which came out of a more than ten year long restoration project and, although foreseen in the flying program, this jewel, restored with love by the Shuttleworth Collection team (it must been said!) did not fly. The aircraft had two test flights some days before and, most probably, public shows were still not granted. This only gives us the envy to come back to the region of Biggleswade to watch him fly.
On the other hand, the presence of MH434 from the Old Flying Machine Company, was, for me although, a must in the program. I am, of course, very interested in this aircraft, because it wore Belgian roundels in the past. Everything was present to have wonderful pictures of this Spitfire LF Mk IX, sun, bright blue skies, closeness of the plane and a pilot who knew how to show off his aircraft for the photographers. In short, you will find this real "coup de coeur" throughout this page.
Beside the fighters, which wrote the history of the Second World War, a great number of other planes were also flown. The Collection's Avro Anson C19, which received an aluminium, white and day-glo livery, characteristic of the post-war Royal Air Force. Let us not forget the origins of the RAF, namely the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). The RFC was honoured by a flight with five different aircraft from the First War. One of these was the Sopwith F.1 Camel, also restored, and brought back to flying conditions not long ago. Again a delight for the eyes and the ears...
The program nearing the end, some historical sailplanes whizzed through the skies above Old Warden airfield with their characteristic whistle.
And then the grand finale. The weather was absolutely superb, almost no wind at all, so we had the presentation of the Edwardians. The Bristol Boxkite, the Avro Triplane IV and the Blackburn Monoplane brought us back in time... Which just shows that "those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" still exist in 2018.
The SBAP team wishes to thank heartily the organizers, the volunteers and all of them who contributed to this show. Pure aerial happiness ! And a particular gratitude to Mrs Ciara Harper, for our accreditation and facilities offered during this fabulous Season Premiere of the Shuttleworth Collection.
And to conclude quite simply : Good show guys... thanks to you the 2018 airshow season will be great !

 
 
Walk into the past...
 
 Bleriot XI
(Serge Van Heertum©)
RFC gentlemen in good company
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 The Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Air Force origin
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Ford model T (Serge Van Heertum©) Sopwith Triplane  (Serge Van Heertum©)
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk 22
(Serge Van Heertum©)
RAF Grob Viking T.1
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Some cockpit section on exhibition
(Serge Van Heertum©)
RAF safety corner
(Serge Van Heertum©)

Mae West
(Serge Van Heertum©)
BAE Striker helmet and RAF Puma HC.1 from 33 Squadron
(Serge Van Heertum©)
De Havilland DH-87B Hornet Moth G-AELO (c/n 8105) from 1936
(Pierre Taquet©)
Stampe & Vertongen SV4c G-AYWT (c/n 1111) from 1949
(Pierre Taquet©)
 
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk Vc (AR501)
 
  (Serge Van Heertum©)

History
Version Type: VS349
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin 45M
C/N: WASP/20/223
RAF code: AR501
Civil registration: G-AWII

Operation al squadrons: 310 (NN-) + 504 (TM-) + 312 (DU-) + 442 (Y2-)
This aircraft was built by Westland Aircraft at Yeovil under Contract No. 124305/40. The fuselage number was: WASP/20/223. The aircraft was first delivered to N°8 MU Little Rissington on June 22nd 1942 before moving to N°6 MU at Brize Norton on 7th July. Its first operational squadron was the 310 (Czech) Sqn at Exeter, the aircraft arrived there on July 19th 1942. Its first operational mission was a patrol over an Allied convoy off Start Point in the English Channel, piloted by Sgt Skach on 3rd August. Then it was assigned to Sqn Ldr F.Dolezal, DFC with the code NN-D. On September 18th while he was leading the squadron in formation practice, he was ordered to intercept bandits over Teignmouth. Dolezal dived through cloud and spotted two FW190's ahead, flying south at 300ft. Although he "gated" the throttle on the Merlin 45, the FW190's easily pulled away from the Spitfires. After landing Dolezal sent a signal to his superiors, complaining about the Spitfire Mk.V's lack of speed.
Cat.B damage was inflicted when it was hit by Mosquito NFII DD634 at Exeter, (probably of 264 squadron), the Mosquito leaving the runway during an overshoot and AR501 was dispatched to No.67 MU for repairs on 22nd July, being passed to Westlands the following day. It was ready for collection on July 3rd 1943 and was delivered to N° 33 MU at Lyneham on 17th July being issued to N° 3501 Support Unit at Cranfield on 16th August, followed two days later by a transfer to N° 504 squadron at Church Stanton, Somerset. It remained with this unit for two days before being transferred to the station flight with which it served until 10th October, when it was assigned to N° 312 (Czech) squadron. The AR501 first mission from Tangmere being to B-26's escort attacking Everex. Over the following months AR501 escorted Boston's, Mitchell's, Marauder's and B-17's, at least once escorting what was to become one of the most famous of all B-17's, "Memphis Belle". On November 10th Fg Off Smolik flew AR501 as escort to four Whirlwind's attacking shilling off Guernsey, during which he raked a 250-ton German flak ship from a range of 500 yards down to 100yards. The last mission for AR501 was held on 29th January 1944, on fighter escort for 36 Marauder's attacking Noball sites south-east of Dieppe. Its next unit was N° 442 (Canadian) squadron, formed at RAF Digby, to which it was delivered on 27th February 1944 while the squadron was waiting for Mk.IX's, followed by N° 58 OTU at Grangemouth on 30th March, than N°1 Tactical Exercise Unit at Tealing on 26th April and N° 61 OTU at Rednall on 4th July 1944.
Its run of good luck came to an end on September 9th 1944, when Cat.B damage was inflicted again. This time Air Service Training Ltd were assigned to repair it and it was with them from 22nd September to 23rd November, being converted to an LF Vc with Merlin 45M engine and clipped wings, together with a variety of other modifications and then delivered to N° 33 MU on 2nd December. Aircraft remained in storage until issued to the Central Gunnery School at Catfoss, Yorkshire on April 24th 1945, but its operational life was soon to end and it was delivered to N° 29 MU High Ercall for storage on August 22nd 1945.

 
In 1988  (Coll Danny Carels) In 1989  (Coll Danny Carels)

It was from here that the aircraft was acquired by Loughborough College and delivered to them by air on March 21st 1946 for use as an instructional airframe; total airframe hours recorded was 511:35. It served in this capacity for the next 15 years, but by 1961 a Spitfire was not particularly suited for training a new generation of engineers and it was transferred to the Shuttleworth Collection in exchange for a Jet Provost prototype, G-AOBU. It remained dismantled until 1967, when it was surveyed for use in the film "The Battle of Britain" and rapidly restored to airworthiness at Henlow by Simpsons Aeroservices as G-AWII. The film over, AR501 was flown to the RAE airfield at Thurleigh by "Dickie" Millward and placed in storage until dismantled and flown to Germany by a Canadian Armed Forces C-130 for use in a colour presentation ceremony. This duty completed the CAF delivered her to Duxford on 7th May 1973 where the Spitfire was stripped for a two-year rebuild from which it emerged in full flying trim for the first air test in the hands of the late Neil Williams on 27th June 1975.
The aircraft has been flying from Old Warden ever since. The AR501 got a temporarily new paint scheme in 2000 for Pearl Harbour film with markings AR474 (RF-Y).
After many flying demonstrations at Old Warden, the AR501 needed a complete overhaul and this one started in 2008. The painstaking restoration which took over 10 years to complete by the Collection's full-time engineering team and skilled volunteers, involved completely dismantling the airframe into its smallest components to inspect and refurbish all the parts. The project included the complete overhaul of the 1,440hp Rolls Royce Merlin V12 engine, also carried out "in house", and a new propeller and spinner.

 
The works ongoing in 2012
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A view of the underwing
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A the pieces are controlled, retaured or made from new
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The cockpit section without the fuel tank in 2014
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Engine mounted and painted in 2017
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A superb ants job
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Rolls Royce Merlin 45M
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Exhibed outside also in 2017
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
The restoration is coming to a end
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Paint scheme complited with the 312 squadron code and markings
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Beautiful clockwork
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Exhibed during the season premiere in 2018
(Serge Van Heertum©)

The Shuttleworth Collection's Spitfire AR501 soared successfully into the skies for its maiden flight, following a full restoration project, at 15.47 on Tuesday 20 March 2018, in the hands of experienced warbird pilot Stu Goldspink. The pilot reported that the aircraft is handling beautifully and all systems functioning correctly with just a couple of minor adjustments required. A second, longer, test flight was carried out the next morning confirming the aircraft is behaving well.
As conclusion, Chief Engineer Jean-Michel Munn said, "This is a very original aircraft, and one that served in combat during the Second World War. It's a privilege for The Collection to be able to return it to airworthy status and have it back flying for visitors to experience the sight and sound of this iconic type."

Stu Goldspink the AR501 test pilot
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Splendid retauration. Sadly was not flying during the season premiere...We are looking forward to see him conquer the sky again
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 Solo Display from 29 Squadron Coningsby
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Early years training:
Miles M.14A Magister (1941) - De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk (1949)
Hunting (Percival) Piston Provost T.1 (1950)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
  
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight: Avro Lancaster Mk B1 (1945)
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight: Vickers Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XVIe (1945)
New colours for the TE311: N° 131 (Polish) Wing Group Captain Aleksander Gabszewicz’s 
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Avro Anson C19 (1946)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Aircraft Restauration Company (ARCO): Bristol Blenheim Mk I (1934)
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Philippe Huberlant©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)  (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
De Havilland DH-60X Moth (1928) - Blackburn B2 Series 1 (1936)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Hawker Demon MkI (1937) - Hawker Tomtit (1928)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Weltland Lysander Mk III (1938)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
 
Imperial War Museum: Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia (1939)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Philippe Huberlant©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Philippe Huberlant©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
The Old Flying Machine Company MH434 special...
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb (1943)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 

The most famous military aircraft of all time and perhaps the most famous of all Spitfires still flying today, MH434 was built in 1943 at Vickers, Castle Bromwich. This Spitfire is remarkably original, having never been subject to any re-build. For its inaugural flight at the beginning of August 1943, MH434 was air tested by the legendary Alex Henshaw Chief Test Pilot for Supermarine at Castle Bromwich.
Within the same month MH434 was scoring with 222 Squadron. It was first allocated to South African pilot Flt Lt Henry Lardner-Burke, DFC (1916-1970). On the August 27th in the St Omer area over France, Lardner-Burke, in MH434, shot down a Focke-Wulf FW-190 and damaged a second during a mission to escort USAAF B-17 bombers. On the September 5th, 1943 they again shot down another FW-190 in the Nieuport area, and on September 8th, 1943 claimed halves share in the downing of a Messerschmitt Bf-109G in Northern France.
In January 1944, MH434 was transferred to 350 Sqn based at Hornchurch, before being returned to 222 Sqn in March 1944. After over 80 operational sorties, MH434 was stood down in March 1945.
Post war the MH434's guns were loaded again when bought by the Royal Netherlands Air Force in 1947. The Spitfire served with 322 Sqn as H-105 (later H-68) and used mainly for ground strafing and light bombing missions. Later on the aircraft suffered a crash landing in Semarang, Java Island. After spending some time in storage, MH434 was repaired and flew again in Holland as from March 10th, 1953.
The next owner was the Belgian Air Force of this Spitfire, and was coded SM-41. The plane served the Advanced Pilot School, Koksijde based and later with the 13 Wing at Brustem.
On the March 26th, 1956 the MH434 was put up for sale and bought and brought back to Britain by airline pilot Tim Davies. As G-ASJV the Spitfire was moved to Stansted then Elstree for a full overhaul. The aircraft was flown purely for pleasure and took part in its first movie role "Operation Crossbow".
Between 1956 and 1963, the MH434 was owned by the Belgian Company Cogea Nouvelle based at Ostend airfield. Coded OO-ARA, the plane was mainly used for target towing. During its Cogea Nouvelle days the aircraft was starring in the Normandy landing classic "The Longest Day".
November 1967 saw MH434 join the motion picture air force of Spitfire Productions Ltd. Set up by Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie for the film " The Battle of Britain" (code AI-A). At the end of the movie in 1968 MH434 was sold again. The new owner, Sir Adrian Swire, Chairman of Cathay Pacific Airways, had the Spitfire painted in 1944 camouflage colour scheme with his initials AC-S, 138 sqn codes. There were several film and television appearances during this period, including "A Bridge Too Far".
In April 1983 MH434 was sold at auction to its most illustrious owner, Ray Hanna (Nalfire Aviation Ltd) and became one of OFMC's founding aircraft. The first major rebuild took place in the winter of 1994-95. MH434 has become a regular movie co-star and airshow performer and when not in make up for a role is flown in the authentic 222 Sqn codes ZD-B.
The MH434 can be seen on regular way on the famous Duxford airshows organized by the Imperial War Museum.

See also SBAP page: 75 years Ambiorix - http://www.sbap.be/events/2016/008ambiorix2016/008ambiorix2016.htm

 
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
Hot start up...amazing   (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
What a fighter aircraft!   (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight: De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 (1952)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Avro 621 Tutor (1931) - De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth (1931) - Scottish Aviation Bulldog T.1 (1974)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Philippe Huberlant©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Pierre Taquet)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Aircraft Restauration Company (ARCO): Bristol Blenheim Mk I (1934)
Hawker Hurricane Mk I (1940) - Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk Ib (1941)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Avro 504K (1918)
(Serge Van Heertum©)

(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Bristol F.2b Fighter (1917)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Bristol M1C (1917)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a (1917)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Sopwith F.1 Camel (1918)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
 
Kirby Kite (1937) - EoN Olympia 2B (1947)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Slingsby T.21B Sedbergh (1950)
 (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
The great Edwardian final...
Bristol Boxkite (1910) - Avro Triplane IV (1910) - Blackburn Monoplane (1912)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Serge Van Heertum©)
(Serge Van Heertum©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©)
 

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