Behind the Scenes: Shuttleworth Collection of Historic Aircraft

It's dangerous to let me loose with a camera around historic aircraft - I absolutely love to photograph these flying machines! I could spend hours capturing every little detail, especially when the aircraft carry real historic value. 

Every year, the Shuttleworth Collection, which is a private collection of historic aircraft maintained by volunteers, opens the doors to their workshops for visitors to see behind the scenes of what it takes to maintain and keep 100+ year old aircraft airworthy! The collection, which aims to preserve the airworthy nature of these aircraft, many of which are the only remaining flyable ones left in the world, spent almost a half million British pounds ($750,000) to achieve this goal in 2015.

With my Leica SL in hand, I spent several hours photographing the inside of the workshops, which are normally closed to visitors. This provided me with a rare opportunity to see inside these aircraft while they are in maintenance - and it was truly spectacular.

1941 Supermarine Spitfire Inside Struts

Engine and wooden propeller

Aircraft engineer hands

Bristol Scout C cockpit

Inside the wing of a 1941 Spitfire

Parts hanging in the workshop

Britsol Boxkite tail

Shuttleworth Engineer


1938 Westland Lysander engine


Bristol strut



Safety belt

Tools and parts

Machine gun replica on 1917 Bristol F2B

Wooden Propeller

Tail from 1942 North American Harvard

Avro 19 Series 2 in the hangar

Quick Shot: C-47 Cockpit

This is the inside of a cockpit from a C-47 bomber located at Fantasy of Flight outside Orlando, Florida. This aircraft actually participated in multiple missions during World War II, including including dropping personnel on Normandy Beach.  

This shot took a bit of pre-planning; I would either need to do some HDR or a decent dose of editing to get the detail in the cockpit without over exposing the sky. I ended up shooting the image under exposed by about a stop and by shooting in RAW, I was able to pull the detail back out of the cockpit and clouds in Adobe Photoshop. Final adjustments were made using Nik HDR Efex for a boost to the color in the cockpit.