Sunday 7 May 2017

Sunday displays are far more than just an airshow (see ground entertainment below). The opening event of the 2017 flying season at Shuttleworth starts with a tribute to Alex Henshaw and his record breaking Mew Gull that is today part of The Collection here at Shuttleworth.

Henshaw learned to fly in 1932, and was one of the King’s Cup Air Race’s youngest-ever competitors. This air race was one of the most prestigious of the period and attracted enormous public interest, and in 1934 Henshaw was invited to take part flying his Miles Hawk Major – unfortunately his engine failed as he crossed the Irish Sea, and he was forced to ditch. 1935 however, saw him flying an aerobatic biplane, an Arrow Active – this caught fire and he was forced to bale out again. In 1937 he had better luck winning the inaugural London-to-Isle of Man air race, and by 1938 flying a Percival Mew Gull, he won the King’s Cup at the age of 25, setting an average speed of 236.25 mph, a record that stands almost 70 years later!

Early in 1939 Henshaw made his record-breaking solo flight from England to Cape Town and back, leaving from Gravesend. The Mew Gull had nine hours’ endurance, stopping in Oran, in Algeria, before continuing on for a 1,300-mile leg across the Sahara. Further stops took place in Belgian Congo and Angola before reaching his destination of Cape Town. The journey of 6,030 miles was flown in just under 40 hours, a record time. Henshaw spent 28 hours in Cape Town, before making the return journey. On February 9 he landed at Gravesend, four days, 10 hours and 16 minutes after his departure – this broke the homeward record by seven hours, and the complete journey time by almost 31 hours.

Henshaw’s epic flight was overshadowed by the impending Second World War and this amazing acheivement little celebrated at the time. Today his record breaking Mew Gull, in which he also won the 1937 Folkestone Trophy at 210 mph and the 1938 King’s Cup at 236.25 mph, will display alongside a host of other historic aircraft for a thrilling start to the 2017 season!

Ground entertainment will include live music from Perfect Vintage, pilot chat, vehicle parade, Flight training simulator (Biggleswade Air Squadron), vintage bus rides (free), Swiss Garden tour (free), and The House will be open from 10.00-14.00. Airfix Make and Paint will be offering free model making, suitable for all ages.

New for 2017 will be our educational entertainment tent, in conjuction with Coventry University. Find in here a flat screen flight simulator, drones (static) go cart, multi-generational activities for kids to grandparents alike, and careers advice for those interested in aircraft engineering. Find the tent next to the SVAS stand.


• Catalina
• Mew Gull (replica)
• Leopard Moth
• Arrow Active
• Miles Messenger
• Dragon Rapide
• Calidus
• Spitfire I


Fauvel Glider
Gloster Gladiator
Hawker Demon
• DH88 Comet
Mew Gull
Miles Magister
DH60X Moth
Comper Swift
Eon Primary
Westland Lysander
Polikarpov P02
Avro 504K
Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Triplane
Hawker Cygnet
Hawker Cygnet (replica)
Hawker Sea Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane R4118
Sopwith Camel
Bristol F2b
Bristol M1C
Avro Triplane
Bristol Boxkite
Blackburn Monoplane

Additional entertainment

  • Pilots chat: Sopwith Camel
  • Perfect Vintage
  • Swiss Garden tour (free)
  • Flight training simulator with the Biggleswade Air Squadron
  • Airfix Make and Paint
  • Vintage bus rides (free)

Event Timings

  • Gates Open: 9.00
  • The House open 10.00-14.00.
  • Pilot Chat: 11.00
  • Vehicle Parade: 12.00
  • Swiss Garden tour: 12.00
  • Flying begins: 14.00
  • Event ends: 18.00 (approx)


  • Arrival at Biggleswade train station: 11.00
  • Departure from Shuttleworth: 17.30
  • £5 per person for a return journey

Book Online

Season Ticket 2017

The 2017 season ticket is available for £150 Adult or £125 SVAS. To purchase email enquiries or call 01767 627933.

Season tickets will be sent out by the end of March 2017.

Gate Price

  • £30 – Adult
  • Free – Child (up to four per paying customer)
  • £17 – SVAS (with proof of a valid SVAS card)

Accommodation available at the house, click here for further information.