Old Warden Aerodrome, to many, is a quiet and unassuming strip of grass in the heartland of Bedfordshire. To an aviation enthusiast, however, the airfield is so much more than that.
The airfield is home to The Shuttleworth Collection, which houses a vast array of vintage aircraft – all of which still fly, some of them the only flying examples of that type. Other accolades include the oldest flying aero engine in the world and the oldest flying aircraft in the world.
You soon start to see then the importance of somewhere like Shuttleworth to the aviation enthusiast.
However, on Saturday 22nd May, the Collection was to take a supporting role, as hundreds of visitors poured through the gates to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the de Havilland Chipmunk.
The two-seat training aircraft first flew in 1946 and was used by over 20 countries worldwide. In the UK, it was used up until the late 90s in active service, training the next generation of pilots. Two types however are still used by the RAF, serving as a training aircraft for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby.
These days, the aircraft is well-loved by many an enthusiast around the world, with many lucky owners caring for their beloved “Chippie” – and over 30 of these made it to Old Warden for the fly-in.
Traditionally powered by a de Havilland Gipsy Major engine, the aircraft boasts excellent handling characteristics, making it perfect for both training pilots and as a leisure aircraft.
Those in attendance were treated to a flypast by 16 Chippies in a mass formation, and were left content, looking forward to the next anniversary celebrations in five years’ time.