Air to Air – The Shuttleworth Collection

Sunday 9th July

We gathered at Old Warden, a week after the Military airshow, back for some close up action with some of the collections star aircraft. Organised by resident photographer Darren Harber and the team from the Aviation Photocrew we boarded our chariot for the day, the Pink Skyvan and took off to capture these magnificent machines in their natural habitat.

I was lucky enough to get seat two on the skyvan for this flight, probably the best place to capture the racers. For those that know, this position isn’t for those of a nervous disposition!

For me there is no finer aircraft on the planet than the DH-88 Comet, it is just a beautiful aircraft so I was absolutely stoked that it would be flying. First though was the Miles Speed Six, followed by the Percival Mew Gull (which was built not 500m from where I sit now) then came the Comet. I think it was noticable how big a grin I had, as bucket list moments go, this has to be one of, if not, the best.

We circled one of the most iconic locations in UK Aviation, the Airhip Hangars at Cardington. You realise how huge they are and how big those first British Airships were.

As the sortie finished we landed at Cranfield to refuel and take stock. What an experience.

The next sortie saw us returning to the Bedfordshire skies and slowing right down to allow the Ryan-STM catch us up, this delightful monoplane glinted in the dwindling sunlight. Soon departing back to Old Warden the Ryan was replaced by the Collection’s Lysander. We thought it may be hard to photograph being so black, it was far from difficult. What a magnificent machine.

Again, we found ourselves landing at Cranfield for more fuel before departing back to Old Warden for a pit stop. At Cranfirld, I could see the crew of Lightning T5 XS458 busy at work, here’s hoping she is roaring soon!

Our final sortie saw us depart and wait for the Collections Sea Hurricane Mk 1b, soon to be in formation with AR501 Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc (Probably my favourite Spit of them all). We got to photograph both the Hurricane and Spit together then a solo flight of the Spitfire in Czech colours.

The last aircraft to arrive was recently restored Spitfire Mk IX TE517 in Czech markings. For one of our party to have two Spits in formation in Czech markings must have filled him with national pride.

AR501 soon left us to fly with TE517, and then it was over. We returned to Old Warden. Exhausted but smiling so much. What a day!

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