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The Duxford Air Show

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Text:

Urs Schnyder

Pictures:

Urs Schnyder

   

Flying Legends 2011
Flying Legends is perhaps the best known warbirds airshow in Europe, Year for year it attracts unique participants besides firm favourites. In some cases aircraft are shipped over from the US just to participate in the display at Duxford.

Duxford itself is an ideal location for such an event, being built during the first world war and serving as an active airfield until the sixties.

In 1968 the film the Battle of Britain was partly filmed at Duxford. The Imperial War Museum took over the airfield and has been expanding their display space with a wide variety of exhibits.

Several aircraft restauration companies and collections also have chosen Duxford as their home base.

Most prominent of those is the fighter collection which together with the imperial war museum organizes the Flying Legends every year.

2011 was no exception, with a few extraordinary items on display. I found it one of the best displays of the last few years. Unfortunately the weather was not very cooperative with lots of clouds on both days of the show. Fortunately there were only a few drops of rain,  but the clouds tended to make photographing difficult as can be seen from some of the photos..

The magic number this year was 3 as there were 3 each of the Skyraiders, Buchons, Sea Fury, DC-3.

The Boss
The man behind Flying Legends, and the Fighter Collection is of course Stephen Grey who  takes an active part in the display, normally displaying in his Bearcat during the time it takes to form up the Balbo that always concludes the display. Long may he continue to do so.

Stephen Grey in his Bearcat (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Stephen Grey  on the Wing of his Curtiss Hawk  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Flight line
One of the most impressing sites when entering the airfield is the flight line which extends the whole length of the taxiway. For a small fee the public is permitted to enter on to the taxiway to be able to see the aircraft from close up. There is a gap between the taxiway and the aircraft, so nobody will obstruct the aircraft. A perfect opportunity to take pictures of the aircraft.
Normally some reenactors provide a kind of guard between the crowd and the aircraft

The Flightline (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Spitfires (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Vought F4U-5N Corsair F-AZYS (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Reenactors on the Flight line (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Reenactors on the Flight line (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Hawker Sea Fury T.20 NX20MD (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Douglas AD-4 Skyraider F-AZHK(Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Hawker Nimrod (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Horsemen
The only aerobatic team flying P-51 Mustangs took part for the second time after 2009. However, this time they brought their own aircraft over from the US.

And during the training preceeding the two show days, they showed some real low flying. Down in the bushes so to speak.

(Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
(Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
(Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Flying Bulls
The flying Bulls took part in the Flying Legends Airshow for the first (but hopefully not last) time.
They brought over their rare P-38L Lightning, which had been bought from the Gardner Family in the US. It was known previously as white Lightning in the US airshow and racing circuit.
The F4U-4 Corsair was previously flown by the Air Force of Honduras. After being brought back to the US it passed trough several owners until being bought by Sigi Angerer for the flying Bulls

Vought F4U- Corsair  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Vought F4U- Corsair  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Vought F4U- Corsair  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Vought F4U- Corsair  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Curtiss Hawks
Flying for the first time at Legends was the rare P-40F with its Merlin instead of the Allison engine. Also displaying were the P-40B, the P-40N and the P-36

Curtiss P-36 Hawk (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Curtiss P-36 Hawk (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Curtiss P-40B (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Curtiss P-40B (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Curtiss P-40N Tomahawk (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Buchons
For the first time since the filming of the Battle of Britain in 1968 there were again three Hispano Buchon taking to the air together.

Casa Bouchon  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Casa Bouchon  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Casa Bouchon  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Casa Bouchon  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder
 
Casa Bouchon  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Casa Bouchon  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Casa Bouchon  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

The Sea Fury
It was nice to see three Sea Furyís in the Air at the same time.

Hawker Sea Fury T.20 NX20MD (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Hawker Sea Fury T.20 NX20MD (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

Hawker Sea Fury T.20  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder Hawker Sea Fury T.20  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

The new Thunderbolt
On the flight line but not flying at Legends was the new P-47 Razorback.

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Big beautiful Doll
The P-51 crashed when the pilot had to bail out after a mid-air collision with a Skyraider

North American P-51D Mustang D-FBBD (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

North American P-51D Mustang D-FBBD (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

 

North American P-51D Mustang D-FBBD (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Spitfires
The most numerous aircraft at Flying Legends. On the Friday before the show, there was the chance to have a short glance of the new and unique Spitfire 1. This is the earliest Spitfire still in airworthy condition that has a combat record.
Otherwise there were many different marks of Spitfires present at the s
how.

Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The flying display
The flying part always starts a bit before 14:00 with a mass take off of all the Spitfires available so they are ready to begin at 14:00.
And from then on it goes on without a break. One act after another. There is no time for a break. Thanks god the need to change the films during photographing is a thing of the past. At times you didnít know which direction to look first or which photo to take. The flying is done in such a way, that there are good photo opportunities.

Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Boeing B-17B Fortress (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Boeing B-17B Fortress (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Boeing B-17B Fortress and a North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Vought F4U-5N Corsair (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Vought F4U- Corsair (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Avro Lancaser (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Avro Lancaster (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Fairey Swordfish (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Fairey Swordfish (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
  North American Harvard (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Junkers Ju-52-3M (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Formation of Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)  
   
  North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) North American P-51D Mustang ans a Douglas AD-4 Skyraider (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)  
   
  Douglad DC-3 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Douglad DC-3 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Douglad DC-3 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) De Havilland Domine  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)  
   
  Flight of CASA Bouchon and Supermarine Spitfire  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Flight of Mustang and Sea Fury  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

De Havilland Domine  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Flight of four Hawker Hind (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 
   
Flight of four Hawker Hind (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Hawker Hind (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Fokker Dr-III  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Fokker Dr-III and a Nieuport 17 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Fokker Dr-III  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Fokker Dr-III  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Formation of Hawker Sea Fury (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
     
  Flight ob Douglas AD-4 Skyraider  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Douglas AD-4 Skyraider  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Douglas AD-4 Skyraider  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)    

The Balbo
At the end of the display all the aircraft take to the air for a mass formation flypast that is unique to Duxford. It is called the Balbo after the Italian General that flew to America with a Squadron of Savoia flying boats in the thirties.
It looks and sounds great, but is difficult to take a picture of as can be seen.
And so one can go forward and plan the visit for the next year.

Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Balbo (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Balbo (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
North American P-51D Mustang (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Morane Saulnier D.3801 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Supermarine Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Balbo (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

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last update 13. August 2011

Written 13. August 2011

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