Category Archives: Airshow News Warbirds

Shuttleworth to hold first “drive-in” airshow this July

OLD WARDEN | The Shuttleworth Collection are to hold a drive-in airshow next month, in an effort to hold the first UK airshow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airshow, which will be for advance ticket holders only, is advertised as being “socially-distant”. Organisers say visitors can “drive in and set up your picnic next to your vehicle”, adding that the small crowd size will ensure visitors have a good view where ever they are parked. On-site catering, clean toilets and hand sanitiser stations will be available.

Gates will open at 3pm, with the flying starting at 5pm and continuing until 8:35, or later if the weather allows the Edwardians to fly. Alongside Shuttleworth regulars, such as the Lysander, Spitfire Mk.Vc, DH.88 Comet and Sea Hurricane, the display is also due to feature visiting aircraft, including an Extra 300 and Fournier RF-4D.

Cars and motorbikes are permitted to attend, although pedestrians will not be granted access. Visitors will park within a marked 25m² area from which they must watch the show, without gathering at the crowdline. Parking spaces will be grouped in “zones”, with each zone having its own welfare hub, including toilets, hand sanitisers and refreshments.

To help ensure all visitors can enjoy the view, there is a maximum vehicle height of two metres. Stepladders, raised tailgates and gazebos are not permitted, and visitors are not allowed to sit or stand on the roof of their vehicles.

UK laws on social distancing means that people who do not live in the same household cannot generally share cars or motorbikes, unless they are in a “support bubble”. Pedestrians will not be allowed to attend and there will be no shuttle bus from Biggleswade. In addition to being able to drive into the show, visitors must also have a working FM radio, as airshow commentary will be delivered on 87.8FM.

There will be no ground attractions at the show.

Tickets cost £50 per vehicle and can be purchased from the Shuttleworth Collection’s website. The Shuttleworth website advertises four further airshows in August, September and October, but none are currently advertised as drive-in shows. Tickets for these events are being sold in the normal manner.

The Victory Show to be held for the final time in 2020

COSBY | One of Britain’s largest Second World War-themed events is to be staged for the final time next year, the organisers announced today.

The 2020 show, which is expected to bring together vintage aircraft, vehicles and combat re-enactors, will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

However, the event organisers said on social media today: “The Victory Show dates for 2020 will be 11th, 12th & 13th September. This will be our FINAL SHOW!! After fifteen amazing years of running the best event of its type in the UK we will be closing our gates for the last time.

“We would like to thank all who have contributed to the show in every capacity, especially our lovely friends of WWII.”

In the past, The Victory Show was regarded as one of Britain’s premier warbird airshows. However, it ran into problems in 2016, when restrictions on the display box imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority made flying all but impossible, and forced the cancellation of the aerial displays.

The show returned in 2018 with a modified curved display line, which proved popular with photographers, but precluded traditional aerobatic performances.

UK and France mark D-Day anniversary with historic flypasts

Large-scale flypasts in southern England and northern France marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on Wednesday 5th June.

The Daks Over Normandy event brought together over 30 vintage Dakotas from around the world, coinciding with official commemorations in Portsmouth and in Normandy.

The UK’s official commemorative event was be held at Southsea Common in Portsmouth on Wednesday 5th June, attended by the Queen, the British Prime Minister, the US President, 16 other world leaders and 300 veterans of the operation.

The event included flypasts of 25 military aircraft, including a Spitfire, Hurricane, Wildcat helicopter, two Merlins, two Hercules, a Sentinel, A330 Voyager, four Hawk T.1s, two Typhoon FGR.4s and the nine Hawk T.1As of the Red Arrows. The Red Arrows returned for a full flying display later in the afternoon.

On the same day, a formation of over 20 Dakotas, escorted by P-51D Mustangs, Beech 18s and T-6 Texans, took off from Duxford en-route to France as the culmination of Daks Over Duxford. In addition, Duxford saw warbird displays and flypasts, flying displays by C-47s and DC-3s and a flyby from the United States Air Force over the weekend.

The main Dakota formation flew low over Colchester, Southend-on-Sea, Medway, Maidstone and Eastbourne before crossing the English Channel to France, flying over Le Havre before commencing a parachute drop at Sannerville, landing at Caen shortly afterwards.

Also on the 5th June, a variety of aircraft staged flypasts and parachute jumps at Carentan, including Dakotas, Spitfires, a Staggerwing and military aircraft from France, the UK and the USA. Hundreds  of jumpers took part, including re-enaction groups and military teams such as the  Red Devils and Golden Knights. Several veterans of the operation also participated in tandem jumps.

The French and US heads of state met in France on the Thursday 6th June for further commemorative events, which included a flypast of specially-painted F-15s. On the same day, the RAF Red  Arrows staged a flypast over Arromanches.

Further jumps from the US military and historic aircraft continued around Caen over the following days.

World’s last flying Meteor NF.11 makes final flight

BRUNTINGTHORPE | The UK’s last flying Gloster Meteor in private hands touched down for the final time on Saturday 5th January, and will now be maintained in a taxyable condition.

Meteor NF.11 WM167 arrived at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome as part of a celebratory ticketed event. Other classic aircraft, including a Vampire T.11 and Strikemaster Mk.80A, joined the Meteor for an impromptu fly-in.

WM167 was built in Coventry in 1952 and flew with the Royal Air Force  until 1975, seeing out the final years of its service as a target tug. It was  purchased by a private collector and reverted to NF.11 configuration shortly afterwards.

The jet was operated until recently by the Classic Air Force, a now-defunct aviation museum and warbird operator based first in Coventry and then Newquay. She was a regular airshow performer during this time, and the only flying Night Fighter Meteor in the world. The charity, who owned two Meteors, folded in early 2016.

Both Meteors, as well as two ex-CAF Venoms, were purchased by American collector Marty Tibbitts in 2017. The first Meteor, T.7 WA591, was taken to the United States and made its American airshow debut at Oshkosh last summer, while the remaining jets stayed in the UK. Meteor NF.11 WM167 was donated to the Classic British Jets Collection at Bruntingthorpe following Tibbitt’s death in an accident last July.

The jet will be maintained in a fast-taxy condition, along with a collection of other Cold War-era jets at Bruntingthorpe, and will likely participate in public events such as the biannual Cold War Jets fast-taxy events.

A further pair of UK-based Meteors are used by Martin Baker as testbeds for their ejector seats, but these are rarely seen in public. The only other airworthy Meteor in the world is a Meteor F.8 owned by the Temora Aviation Museum in Australia.