Roger Cook/Pynelea Photo Bureau reviews the Shuttleworth Collection's first Evening Air Display, held at Old Warden on 19 May
Shuttleworth Collection's Air Displays are legendary - if the weather is set fair, my preference is for the evening displays, held once a month between May and September. With the flying starting about 18:00 there is ample time to arrive in the afternoon and take a leisurely stroll through the hangars to savour these beautiful vintage aircraft, so lovingly cared for by the Shuttleworth team, and then to watch as each is carefully wheeled out for the evening's show.
On this, the first Evening Display of the season, the strong breeze meant that the 'Edwardians' were not going to fly, but nevertheless a good mixed programme was put together. The flying started with a display by Jet Provost T3 G-BKOU and it would have been interesting to have preceded this with a display by Shuttleworth's own Provost T1 to show the similarity (and differences) between these aircraft, both from Hunting's Luton factory.
It was good to see the Gladiator in its new RAF colour scheme sporting the serial K7985 and good also to see Lysander V9367 back in the air again, although by the time it took to the skies the evening shadows were certainly closing in - this seemed to create the right atmosphere for this type that operated at twilight to drop agents behind enemy lines during the Second World War.
Personally, I felt that the flower bombing competition went on a little too long but this is really being over-critical, for this was an evening to sit back in the deck-chair with the lingering scent of castor oil and crushed grass in the air, a cold beer in hand, to savour the sights and sounds of these beautiful aircraft.