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  Duxford Air Show 2014
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Text:

Urs Schnyder

Pictures:

Urs Schnyder

   

The 2014 issue of Flying Legends was negatively affected by two causes.
One was that the International Air Tattoo had moved their dates from the third weekend in July to the second, therefore colliding with Flying Legends who had occupied that date for as long as we can remember.  This not very smart move forced many people who would otherwise go to both shows to make a decision on their preference.  Add this to the bad weather then both shows must have lost a lot of spectators. Letís hope they reverse this move next year again.
The second one was the consistently bad weather over all of Europe with heavy rain and low cloud base that prevented a lot of warbirds from undertaking the journey to Duxford. This is quite understandable since they are not only unique but also represent a big investment for their owners.
Nevertheless as always, they put up a good show. And one could even think that the weather had some respects for the show because on both days the rain stopped before the show started and it remained dry during the whole display.

Spitfires

Traditionally Flying Legends open the show with the display of the Spitfire. This year there were no less than 11 who did some formation fly pasts before they got into their traditional tail chases.
A very unique sight and one most likely not seen in the skies over Duxford since the war was a formation of four Mk. 1 Spitfires flying in formation. It is also not likely to be repeated so soon because most of them will go to the US.

   

Spitfire Mk. I (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mk. IX take off (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mk. 16 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Spitfire Mk. 18 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Spitfire Mk. 18 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Spitfire Mk. 18 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Tailchase (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

All 11 in formation  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mk. 1 in formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Spitfire Mk. V In perfect weather (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Spitfire Mk.V Low level variant (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Formation in the sun (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

4 Mk. I in Formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

open formation  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

3 times Mk. 1 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mk.1 Formation under a threatening sky (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Four Spitfire Mk. V (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Who can spot the third Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Tailchase  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Big and small

The Battle of Britain Flight put in an appearance as in most years. Lancaster and Spitfire only on Saturday and all 3 aircraft on Sunday.

Contrasting in size to the big Lancaster were three Piper Cubs right after the BoB.

 

Follow the Lancaster (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

BoB Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

BoB Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

BoB Hurricane (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

BoB Hurricane (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

All 3 on Sunday (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The piper cubs  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Pleasure flying in between  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Navy

A formation of the Wildcat, Hellcat, Corsair and Bearcat flew in a four ship formation. It was the first time for the Hellcat to again fly at Flying Legends for quite a while.

Following that, the Corsair gave a display in which he really showed what low flying is about.

The Bearcat concluded with itís well known fast display

Not to forget the Hawker Sea Fury of the FAA who showed off this fine fighters flying qualities including folding the wings in front of the audience.

 

Formation of Cats and Corsairs (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Formation of Cats and Corsairs (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Wildcat and Hellcat close in (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Hellcat on finals (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Corsair head on (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Corsair straight on (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Bearcat fast pass (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Bearcat from oposite (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

     

FAA Sea Fury (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

FAA Sea Fury (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The star oft the show

Great was the excitement and anticipation when at the end of June the Duxford press office announced that the only flyable Boeing P-26 Peashooter in the world would be coming to Flying Legends.
The P-26 was the first all metal US fighter Monoplane to serve with the USAAC in the nineteen thirties. After serving in the US it saw active service protecting the Panama Canal during the war and afterwards was handed over to the Guatemalan Air Force where it was found and recovered by Ed Maloney, the founder of the Planes of Fame Museum in California. Upon returning it was first displayed as a static exhibit in the museum. It was later brought back to flying condition and had its first flight in 1962. After flying it now and then it was grounded due to its great rarity. However, in 2006 it was again decided to bring it back to airworthiness and fly it on special occasions.
How small the aircraft is one can only realize when it is flying. It is really tiny and its rarity confines the flying to take place over the airfield so it can be immediately landed if there is a problem. No risks can be taken with such a rare plane, so on Sunday it taxied out but actually didnít fly.
I first saw the Peashooter in 1980 at the Planes of Fame Museum, and at that time I never dreamed that one day I could see it flying in Europe. And here it was. The sight of it in the air was worth the whole trip to Duxford alone.

 

Waiting for take off (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

taxying (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Ready to go (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Head on view (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

taxying (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

from behind (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Peashooter flypast (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Peashooter  from front (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Peashooter from under(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Peashooter  flypast(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Peashooter flypast (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Curtiss fighters

Already on Friday, going through the Fighter Collection hangar, one could see a brightly polished Curtiss P-40C. It was the newly restored example belonging to Stephen Grey which was brought out of Russia in the 1990ís in rather bad shape. It took quite a while to bring it back to its present status. It only arrived at Duxford in June and gave its first public display at Flying Legends.
It was joined in the air by the P-36 and the rare P-40F which has a Merlin instead of an Allison engine.

 

P-40C engine test run (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

P-40C rolling to take off point  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Lined up for take off (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Before take off (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

 

P-40C in itís element  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Zero pilots view (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

P-40C in itís element (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

P-36 in French service (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

P-40F in the air (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

P-40F in the blue (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

P-40C attracting the crowds (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

               

The 8th Air Force and the opposition

   

The two resident Messerschmitts aka Buchons were chased across the Duxford Airspace by the Mustangs. Seeing this one can imagine how little chances the average young german fighter pilot had against their much better trained and equipped American opposition. And the little friends escorted the B-17 Sally B on her mission.

 

Double trouble (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

little Friends (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

little Friends (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Get out of my way (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

 

1944 or 2014 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

General Spaatz and his officers (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Now that is too close (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

little friends on close escort (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

 

Wingtip to Wingtip (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Queen oft he skies (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Deadly Duo (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

In close Formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

               

The diminished field

   

Due to the bad weather many aircraft were missing, so also the Flying Bulls P-38 Lightning and F-4U Corsair which didnít manage to leave Austria. A first for Duxford however was the  B-25 of the flying Bulls.
Not able to make the trip were also the two Junkers 52 from France and Germany. The only aircraft representing Germany was the BŁcker Jungmann which did its Aerobatic routine. And then the Lysander with its short field capability. Although it seemed to have an engine problem on Saturday, it could again fly on Sunday to give its display.

 

Polished metal under threatening skies (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

And in blue skies (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder

Shuttleworth Lysander (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Shuttleworth Lysander (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Biplanes

   
 

And back to the thirties when the RAF was the best flying club in the world and when aircraft were decorated in colourful Squadron markings as shown by the two Gloster Gladiators and the Hawker Nimrod. Just beautifull. Why canít we have this today anymore?

 

Fighter collecton Gladiator (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Fighter collecton Gladiator (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Shuttleworth Gladiator (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Fighter collections Hawker Nimrod (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

     

BŁcker Jungmann (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

Tiger-Moth (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder )

The airlliners

   
 

After many years of absence, the Lockheed Super Constellation flew in on Friday and flew a display routine on both days. Starting the Connieís engines is a show in itself because of the huge amount of smoke that is emitted when the big radials fire up. But once in the air, the Constellation must be one of the most graceful aircraft that ever took to the skies.

Another beauty was the Norwegian Dakota that took to the air after the Constellation. Totally amazing how the pilot threw the big aircraft around the sky as if it was a fighter.

 

Saturday morning fog and drizzle (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Engine start (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Saturday afternoon in blue skies (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Elegance in the air (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Elegance in the air (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Back to the dispersal (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Side by side  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Norwegian Dakota displaying (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The French Hurricane

   
 

What is the next best thing for a Frenchman if you canít have a French fighter aircraft? It is of course a British fighter aircraft that has served in the Battle of France.
Prevented from displaying on Saturday due to the Weather, it just arrived on Saturday evening shortly before the shows end, having sneaked in under the clouds together with the Mustang from France Moonbeam McSwine was able to display on Sunday.

 

Hurricane arrival on Saturday (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Displaying on Sunday (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Displaying on Sunday (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The 3 coloured underside view (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Coming in to land (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Back to the flightline (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Rolling to the take off point (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The Joker and the Balbo

   
 

And before you can think of it, the show is nearing its end with all aircraft taking off and assembling for the Balbo. And there comes the Joker. For the second time it is Nick Grey in the Gloster Gladiator who entertains with his aerobatics until the Balbo is ready to run in. On Sunday the Joker part was done in the Hellcat which was a first also. The Balbo was smaller than in other years and it seemed that there were not enough pilots to fly all the planes that were present.

So ended another Flying Legends airshow. Fortunately without mishaps and despite the missing participants and the bad weather one worth attending to. What is left is to wait for next year again and to wonder what they will come up with to surprise us.

 

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Esther Blaine and her staff for providing press facilities.

 

Flightline (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Balbo from behind (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Spitfires times 11 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Final break (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

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last update 24. August 2014

Written 14. August 2014

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