Shuttleworth Collection Jubilee Flying Circus

Sunday 5th June 2022

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend saw The Shuttleworth Collection hosting their third display of the season with the Jubilee Circus Airshow. Sadly, though, it turned out to more of a damp squib than the spectacle we were all hoping for.

Dan Elms reports from a rather miserable Old Warden. Photos by the author and Scott Perry.

With the weekend of celebrations, it seemed rather apt that Shuttleworth would host an airshow themed around the Jubilee, packed with circus performers to entertain the younger clientele before the flying display kicked off, featuring a first display of the year from the BBMF Lancaster, a visiting Spitfire and Hurricane pair, and fitting the circus theme, the Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers.

The weather forecast in the lead up to Sunday's show suggested that the event would be lucky to go ahead in any format, with yellow weather warnings appearing on Friday/Saturday, and rain forecast for pretty much the entire day. As it happened, the expected thunderstorms stayed away but sadly the British weather put paid to almost all of the planned participants, with heavy rain overnight and a very low cloud base and fine misty rain hanging around for the almost the entire morning.

On arriving at Old Warden the author was sceptical that we would see any flying action, with puddles littering the parking fields, and sadly reports started filtering out that the BBMF had cancelled all planned sorties on the day and that none of the visiting participants would be arriving.

Such is the draw of Old Warden though, that the crowd were still arriving throughout the day, with the promise of at least some aircraft taking to the skies to provide some form of show. Announcements then followed that the much changed line-up and display would start, albeit slightly delayed.

Come 14:30, and the show commenced with the SVAS Piper Cub taking to the sky to perform a weather check, followed by a low dive in to collect, what is now becoming synonymous with Shuttleworth shows, a banner proclaiming "God save the Queen". Following this sedate opening, we were treated to a spirited display from the Miles Hawk, in what could be described as challenging flying conditions.

After this came a barn-storming display of flour bombing, and limbo flying by the Comper Swift, De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth, Piper Cub and the De Havilland Chipmunk, accompanied by a rather upbeat commentary which certainly made the crowd chuckle at points. This was followed by the Chipmunk once again taking flight, with the display starting off with a long white ribbon being towed, which with some superb handling was added to with red and blue ribbons to provide Shuttleworth's version of the patriotic Red, White and Blue smoke!

The vastly cutdown, and slightly fragmented show was then bought to a close by the Percival Provost, with the commentators announcing rather abruptly that that would be the last of the flying action as it came in to land.

Sadly, this event was majorly impacted by the weather - however that being said it shouldn't stop criticism. The communication from the collection was non-existent in the morning, so people travelled to Old Warden not knowing whether it was going to be going ahead - which in the age of social media is not good enough.

That being said, fair play to them for at least producing something - the unpredictable summer weather is just one of the things that all of us in Britain have to live with. Fingers crossed the next show will be blessed with bright sunshine!