July 9, 2011
|At two o’clock when the flying action began the famous World War II airfield at Duxford became alive with the sight and sound of fabulous warbird aero-engines. The flying doesn’t stop till the last veteran aircraft returns from the mass flypast of the famous Flying Legend's Balbo over 3½ hours later.
|Flying Legends 2011
The Flying Legends team has put a lot of effort and thought into making the event safe for the public and the pilots, however at the end of Sunday’s display as the Balbo was breaking up into individual elements before recovering to the airfield the Amicale Jean Baptiste Salis Skyraider (F-AZDP) flown by Pierre Fages collided with P-51D Mustang (D-FBBD) ‘Big Beautiful Doll’ piloted by Rob Davies. The Skyraider lost a wing tip and dived towards the ground gathering air speed before pulling up and turning to land safely on the grass. Rob Davies was unable to regain control of his Mustang as he reported was "crippled in pitch", and was about to impact with the ground a mile or two south of the airfield. He scrambled out of the stricken aircraft, his parachute deploying only seconds before the Mustang crashed into a field. There were cry’s from the crowd of “get out, get out!”, followed by clapping by the relieved spectators. This was a real heart stopping moment, the tannoy later announced to everyone’s huge relief that Rob Davies was uninjured.
Flying Legends 2011 opened with a mass take off of seven Spitfires a Hurricane and three Buchón painted as German Me-109’s they returned to beat-up the airfield with typical Flying Legends panache before starting a tail-chasing routine. Enter the heavyweights, three Douglas AD-4NA Skyraiders, including Kennet Aviation’s Skyraider (G-RADR) in its new handsome dark blue US Navy paint scheme of VA-155 which was presented last month now took to the air. One of the two French Skyraiders (F-AZHK) was carrying a full range of rockets and bombs under its wings.
Following the Chance Vought F-4U Corsair (F-AZYS) of Max Alpha Aviation, which had not been previously seen at Legends was; ‘The Horsemen’ flying as a synchronised pair with Dan Friedkin and Ed Shipley at the controls returning after their first acclaimed appearance of 2009. The pair were joined by four more tail-chasing P-51D Mustangs, which although a familiar set-piece are still Legend’s favourites, the formation included the ill-fated ‘Big Beautiful Doll’ which was now German registered.
Duxford based Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (G-BEDF) better known as ‘Sally-B’ now took to the air for the first time in some years and following a solo display was joined by a P-51 Mustang escort to conclude its display. Two de Havilland DH.84 Dragon (G-ECAN and EI-ABI) and a DH.89 Dragon Rapide (G-AGJG) passenger transports changed the pace of the show with graceful and seductive flying. The beautiful Aer Lingus’ DH.84 named ‘Iolar’ was making its Legends debut. The Rapides had earlier been providing pleasure flights.
Curtiss built aircraft by way of a Hawk and three P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawks were the next delight to take to the skies. Not seen before was the P-40F Warhawk resplendent in the fetching sand colours of the 85th Fighter Squadron, 79th Fighter Group from when based in Italy during the World War Two. Hawker continued with another quartet of aircraft comprising a more sedately flown; Hawker Demon and Hawker Hind with two Hawker Nimrods. This was a formation that had perhaps never been seen before. Hawker were not finished, a trio of Hawker Sea Fury now demonstrated how the company had progressed in ten or so years for the end of the World War Two. It was good to see the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s Sea Fury T.20 (G-RNHF) accompanied by their Fairey Swordfish II (LS326) which was appearing after a very long absence from Flying Legends.
With demonstrations of the BBMF Lancaster, two Dakota’s and some replica World War I aircraft, one of which had a landing mishap on the Sunday, it was time for the Flying Legends trade mark Balbo finale this time with a 28 strong mass launch and formation fly by.
What everyone was waiting for were the Austrian based team ‘The Flying Bulls’ which were making their first UK appearance at Flying Legends, which displays with their Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair (OE-EAS) and Lockheed P-38L/F-5G Lightning (N25Y). The highlight of the show for most was the P-38 a type that had not flown in the UK for 15 years.
|Lockheed P-38L/F-5G Lightning (44-53254 / N25Y). 'The Flying Bulls' P-38 Lightning ceased active service from September 1945 and was initially civilian registered to Lilee Products Company in Chicago. J D Reed, an air racing enthusiast, based in Houston later took ownership and achieved 2nd place at the 1947 Miami Air Races and 2nd place at the Sohio-Race in Cleveland in the same year. Marvin 'Lefty' Gardner in 1963 flew the aircraft at the Reno National Championship Air Races with considerable success. Unfortunately in 2001 it was extensively damaged by fire. Eight years later, the P-38 had been restored to its former glory by The Flying Bulls team.
Chance Vought F-4U Corsair (96995 'RB-37' / OE-EAS) of the Flying Bulls. This Corsair was one of 12,500 models delivered to the US Navy. It did not see active service in the World War Two, but was transferred to Honduras where it was in active service until 1965. It was then sold to a private owner, who in turn sold the aircraft to Sigi Angerer co-founder of Red Bull.
| In the flight line was the recently restored and now immaculate Curtiss (Republic) P-47G-10-CU Thunderbolt (G-CDVX) ‘Snafu’. Rolled out for the first time on June 14 by the Fighter Collection it is painted in the markings of 84th Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group representing the time when the 84th were based at Duxford in 1944. The P-47 had originally arrived at Duxford as ‘Little Demon’ in 2006. Unfortunately grounded for the weekend, ‘Snafu’ will definitely be a draw for next year’s Flying Legends.
The latest addition to The Fighter Collection is Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (41-19841 / VH-PIV) named 'Lees Hope', making it first flight in the UK on the Saturday morning of Flying Legends flown by Steve Hinton. Built in 1942 41-19841 little is known of it's service history it was struck off charge in November 1943 and abandoned on the island of Espiritu Santo which is part of Vanatu in the Pacific. It was recovered in the 1970s and stored in Australia for sometime until restoration was carried out by Precision Aerospace Productions for TFC in the markings of USAAF's 85th Fighter Squadron as flown in Italy during 1944. It was shipped to the UK arriving at Duxford on July 4.
2011 Flying Program 14:00 to 17:30
7x Supermarine Spitfires, 3x Hispano Buchón and a Hawker Hurricane
3x Douglas AD-4 Skyraiders
Vought F4U Corsair and Grumman F-8F Bearcat
2x North American P-51 Mustangs The Horsemen with 'Fragile but Agile' and 'February'
4x North American P-51 Mustangs 'Miss Velma', 'Ferocious Frankie', 'Nooky Booky IV' and 'Big Beautiful Doll'
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 'Sally-B'
2x de Havilland DH 84 Dragon and a DH 89 Dragon Rapide
Avro Lancaster B.1 Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
3x Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and Curtiss Hawk
Hawker Demon, Hawker Hind and 2x Hawker Nimrods
3x Hawker Sea Fury
Vought F4U Corsair and Lockheed P-38 Lightning of Red Bull
3x Fokker DR.1 and Nieuport 17 dogfight.
2x Douglas DC-3 Dakota
Grumman F-8F Bearcat as the 'Joker'
Mass take-off of most of the participating aircraft for the Balbo formation fly past with around 28 aircraft.
| Around 50 rare warbirds were flown this year, most were old favourites some were new to the show, what was there and how many really was not important to the vast numbers of ticket paying aircraft enthusiasts which totalled and impressive 27,000 this year over the two days. They turn up each year to be entertained and never leave disappointed. This year’s Flying Legends once again lived up to its reputation of being 'The Greatest Warbird Show in Europe'.
Plans are already being formulated for Flying legends 2012 which is to be held on the weekend of June 30 and July 1, 2012. While you can't be sure which aircraft will be making the Flying Legends debuts next year, you know that the show will combine the new and unique with tried and tested that makes it a must in any aviation enthusiasts diary. See IWM Duxford for more details of future events and also the Friends of The Fighter Collection Blog.
Its very early in the morning and the Flying Legends 2011 line-up is still being formed.
Flying Legends 2011 - What was there
|Left to right:
P-51D-25 Mustang ('44-13704 B7-H' really 44-73149 / G-BTCD) 'Ferocious Frankie' of the Old Flying Machine Company.
TF-51D-25 Mustang (44-84847 'CY-D' / NX251RJ) 'Miss Velma' of The Fighter Collection (TFC)
|Left to right: Supermarine Spitfire XIX (PS890 'UM-E' / F-AZJS).
Spitfire Mk.1A (AR213 'JZ-E' / G-AIST) of Spitfire the One Ltd. with Hawker Hurricane XIIa (RCAF 5711 painted as 'Z5140' HA-C' / G-HURI) of Historic Aircraft Collection.
Spitfire FR.XIVe ('MV268 'JE-J' / G-SPIT).
Spitfire LF.5B (EP120 'AE-A' / G-LFVB).
|Left to right: Hispano HA1112-M1L Buchón ( D-FMVS ex C.4K-169) with (G-BWUE as 'Yellow 10’ ex C.4K-102).
Hispano HA1112-M1L Buchón (Spanish license-built Me.109) (G-BWUE as 'Yellow 10’ ex C.4K-102) it is owned by Spitfire Limited.
|Left to right: AD-4N Skyraider (127002 '20-LN' / F-AZHK) in a Aeronavale scheme it is owned by Christophe Bruneliere of Vega Team/Skyraider Avignon.
|Left to right: P-51D-30 Mustang (44-74391 'MX-I' / N351MX) with P-51D-20 Mustang (44-63864 '412016' / NL98CF) 'Fragile but Agile' both of the Commanche Fighter's 'The Horsemen'.
P-51D Mustang (44-11622 'G4-C' / F-AZSB) 'Nooky Booky IV' of Societe de Developpement et de Promotion de L' Aviation (SDPA).
|Left to right: Chance Vought F-4U Corsair (124541 '123176 WF-19' / F-AZYS) of Max Alpha Aviation.
Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider (126922 'H-503' / G-RADR ex G-RAID) of Kennet Aviation in its new scheme.
Avro Lancaster B.1 (PA474) of the BBMF.
|Left to right: de Havilland DH.84 Dragon I (G-ECAN) of Norman Aeroplane Trust
de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapide (G-AGJG).
de Havilland DH.84 Dragon I (EI-ABI) named 'IOLAR' of Aer Lingus.
|Left to right: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (41-19841 / VH-PIV) named 'Lees Hope' it is owned by The Fighter Collection.
Curtiss P-40B Warhawk (41-13297 '284-18P' / G-CDWH) owned by The Fighter Collection this aircraft is believed to be the only survivor from the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941.
Curtiss P-40N Kittyhawk (42-105915 '12' / F-AZKU) 'Little Jeanne' of the Societe de Developpement et de Promotion de L' Aviation (SDPA).
|Left to right: Sea Fury T.20 (WG655 '910' / NX20MD) of The Fighter Collection.
Fury FB.11 (F-AZXL ‘369’) in a Royal Australian Navy scheme.
|Left to right: Sea Fury T.20 (VX281 'VL-120' / G-RNHF) of the Royal Navy Historic Flight.
Fairy Swordfish II (LS326) of the Royal Navy Historic Flight.
|Left to right:
The Shuttleworth Trust's Hawker Hind (G-AENP/ 'K5414' coded 'XV'), Hawker Nimrod Mk.1 (S1581 '573' / G-BWWK), Hawker Nimrod II (K3661 / G-BURZ) and Hawker Demon (K8203 / G-BTVE).
Nieuport 17 Scout (G-BWMJ as N1977 ‘8’) it is a replica.
|Left to right: Lockheed P-38L/F-5G Lightning (44-53254 / N25Y) of the Flying Bulls.