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Duxford Flying Legends 2015

 

 

Duxford airfield is host to Europe’s premiere warbird airshow , Flying Legends. Run by The Fighter Collection, (which is based on the airfield) over the past 20 years or so they have brought some truly wonderful piston engine aircraft. This year was to be no different and for me one of the best in the past few years.

 

 

 

As per usual, Duxford was taken back to the 1940’s with plenty of re-enactors around the historic airfield. Entertainment before the show was provided by the Winslow concert band and America’s very own Manhattan Dolls on the old hangar base. There was the opportunity to sit in a Spit, albeit a very good replica, and have your photo taken. Large scale models also were in abundance.

The renowned flight line walk was in operation, giving the public the chance to get that little bit closer to the aircraft with plenty of period dressed re-enactors to add atmosphere. Saturday was a scorcher for weather and the crowds were huge. Duxford became very busy, very early this year, more so than previous years. With pleasure flights from Classic wings over, the airshow was able to begin.

What better way to start any airshow at Duxford than with no less than 11 Spitfires!!( well 10 and a Seafire). The flight was split into 3 elements. 4 Griffon’s and 2 flights of Merlins. What an Awesome sight and sound!! Beginning with a couple of mass formation passes, the group split into 3 sections and began tail chases. This has become a signature at Legends over the years with aircraft seemingly coming from everywhere.

A Navy section was to follow with TFC’s Chance Vought Corsair and F8F Bearcat, joined by Max Alphas Corsair F4U, a nice tight 3 ship pass was followed by a split, the Corsair’s giving a pairs demo and a solo by the Bearcat.

A star of Legend’s 2015 was another TFC owned aircraft, The Curtiss P-36c. This aircraft only arrived from the US the week before. It looked absolutely stunning in its bare metal finish and complimented the Hawk 75 and P-40’s C and F models already owned by the Fighter Collection. Another unique formation pass notched up for TFC. The four split into two pairs with the 75 and 36 giving a lovely display.

Four more American warbirds followed on. P-51 ‘Miss Velma, Moonbeam Mcswine, The Shark and Max Alpha’s Mustang made a stunning entry from the M11 end of the airfield. It really showed the speed and grace of the Mustang. Moonbeam Mcswine went on to do a solo over the back of the airfield whist the trio performed a series of fast and low passes.

Resident B-17 Sally B continued her role in honouring the crews of the Mighty Eighth with a beautiful display, made even better with a ‘Little Friend’ by her side. P-51D, the Shark had stayed airborne and formatted on the wing of Sally B for a series of passes. This I thought was a very nice touch, and something we don’t see as much as we used to.

The second star of this year’s Legends was the Messerschmitt ME109G ‘Red 7’from Airbus Group-Flugmuseum Messerschmitt. It was lovely to hear the sound of a Daimler Benz 605A engine in the skies over the UK again. She was joined by the two resident Buchon’s from Arco. A display from the gorgeous looking Junkers JU-52 from Jean Baptiste Salis and some aerobatics from Anna Walker in her Bucker Jungmann brought a close to the Axis part of the airshow.

A rare sight of three Hawker Biplanes took to the air to give a really nice 3 ship display. Two Hawker Nimrods flanked the sole surviving Hawker Fury MK1. This was followed by one of the highlights of the whole weekend. Newly restored Bristol Blenheim Mk1 joined up with 3 MK1 Spitfires and HAC’s Hurricane XIIa to perform a majestic formation in commemoration of the Battle Of Britain. This is a sight probably not seen since the war an brought the airfield almost to silence. A display from the three MK1 Spits followed a solo by the Blenheim.

Grumman Avenger ‘Charlie’s Heavy’ put on , in my opinion, the best display of the weekend. For such a big old girl, she was flown around the sky with gusto. Some lovely top side’s for the photographer too!! An issue with the Sea Fury and Fury saw a solo display by a single aircraft on each day. I believe the Se Fury actually killed it’s engine and is now at Duxford awaiting repair.

With a display by the striking pair from Red Bull’s P38 Lightning and B-25 Mitchell and a pair of Gloster Gladiators, the finale was fast approaching. Flying Legend’s would not be complete without the infamous ‘Balbo’. Nick Grey, acting as the ’Joker’ in TFC’s Gladiator, gave an awe inspiring display whilst the aircraft got airborne and into formation. This year, 25 aircraft were mustered for the mass flypast. It is a sight and sound to behold. With the run and breaks done and every aircraft safely down the 2015 Flying Legends airshow was brought to a close.

A big thanks to everyone involved in this year’s show. I think it has been by far the best display in recent year’s. Thanks to The Fighter Collection for their continued efforts year in year out to bring us such an amazing collection of aircraft…..

Review by Neil Darby

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