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  Flying Legends 2018
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Text:

Urs Schnyder

Pictures:

Urs Schnyder

   

Prelude

Besides the flying program, the next thing of interest is of course the weather. Despite the fact, that it had been very nice for quite a while, the weather is unpredictable as was shown during the RAF 100 flypast over London when heavy clouds moved in. And indeed, on Saturday there were some dark clouds as well, fortunately without rain.

That should of course be an argument for always attending both days of the Airshow since it is unlikely for both days to have bad weather, and indeed, the Sunday was hot and cloudless again.

The first thing in the morning after arrival is to have a look at the flight line. This time there were four Buchons standing there next to each other. I canít remember having seen four of them at the same time.  It is of course 50 years since the movie Battle of Britain was filmed at Duxford. This time however they were outnumbered by the Hurricanes and Spitfires.

 
The lineup at 7 in the morning (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
The four Buchons (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
The two seater Buchon (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) This time the Germans are outnumbered by Spitfires (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Douglas DC-6 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Former miss Velma as Contrary Mary (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Everything was dwarfed by the Douglas DC-6 that was standing on the taxiway. It was the first time that the Austrians of Red Bull had brought their big airliner to Duxford. Once we got to the flight line it was clear that there were many other surprises.

There were three Mustangs that I hadnít seen before. One of them was actually the former Miss Velma that had made such a skilful emergency landing in a field after her engine cut out at the end of last yearís Airshow. I hadnít expected to see her flying again after such a short time.  She is now painted as Contrary Mary with black and white checkerboards.

There were also some new or at least newly painted aircraft in the lineup of 14 Spitfires. No less than three of them were two seaters.

   
Trusty Rusty from the Netherlands (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Mustang owned by Comanche Fighters. This was the subject of a very early Airfix model (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The victory tally of the Hun Hunter Texas (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Spitfire Mk. Vc (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
A detail missing from many restored aircraft is the crowbar for the pilot (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Spitfire Tr.9 of the Aircraft Restoration Company (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Fighter Collections immaculate Fiat CR.42 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Detail to perfection, the shield of the house of Savoy (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

One aircraft that I hadnít expected however was a beautifully restored Fiat Cr.42. Given that there are only four examples of the type left in the world, of which three are standing in museums, this is remarkable.  We may one day see a mock combat between the Fighter Collectionís Gloster Gladiator and the Fiat Cr.42 at a Flying Legends show. This time however the Fiat was only on static exhibition even though it looked complete.

One aspect of the public flight line walk are the reenactors who are placed along the lineup of aircraft. They serve a double purpose as guards, so nobody leaves the concrete and also give a period feel to the scene. I had always assumed that they are locals. While talking to one of them this year it turned out, that a whole group of them are actually from Boston in the US. They had come over just for the Flying Legends weekend. I also learned that their outfit doesnít come cheap. Depending on what they wear, they spend as much as 5000$ for it. Even their wristwatches are genuine WW2 articles.

   
Hawker Hurricane Mk.I of the Anglia Restauration Company with the short lived fin flash (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Hawker Sea Fury T.20 getting a shine (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Once again there were three Corsairs present at Flying Legends (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The new P-47 Thunderbolt (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
  The newly applied pin up on the Red Bull B-25 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Reenactor checking his image in the highly polished fuselage and spinner of a Beech 18 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Two of the reenactors who came all the way from Boston USA (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The DH 9A of the museum get's an outing, something not seen before (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Spitfires

It is a tradition at Flying Legends to open the Airshow with a formation display of Spitfires. It is every time again special when all the Spitfires taxi to the take off point and then do a mass take off. It gives you a good idea how it was at Duxford in those days so long ago.

This time there were 11 Spitfires that took to the air to form up into a big formation. After the flypast they split up into two sections which beat up the airfield in their tail chase. For this part of the display the sky over Duxford is divided into two parts. One section flies on the northern side of the runway from one side to another turning at each end thereby giving the opportunity for good pictures. The other section flies basically in a big circle on the southern side of the runway. That way it is assured that the flight paths of the two sections donít cross each other. It also guarantees that there are always aircraft in front of the crowd.

  The 11 Spitfires in formation aproaching from the east. (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
From this angle it can be seen that they do fly in a formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The big formation splitting up into smaller units (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The big formation splitting up into smaller units (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The big formation splitting up into smaller units (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
The big formation splitting up into smaller units (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The big formation splitting up into smaller units (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The big formation splitting up into smaller units (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Tailchase at low level (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
Now that is close enough <Iwould say. (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Spitfire Mk.I  (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Spitfire Tr.9 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Grace Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
Low level beat up (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Spitfire Tr.9 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Spitfire Tr.9 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
The Grace Spitfire (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) On the continent you get a fine for flying that low! (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Dual banking into the blue (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Finally the landing after a lot of excitement (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Naval Fighters

The Salis Collection from France brought their F4U-5N over for the Airshow. It is its first airshow season after a lengthy restauration.

A Formation of two Corsairs and one Bearcat were well matched in their performance. After the formation display the Bearcat continued to give a solo display in which you could see the high performance of this aircraft. Being designed to outperform the Japanese opposition, it never could prove itself as the war ended before it was introduced into service.

 

 It was used in combat by the French in Vietnam in a rather unfitting ground attack role.

Back again after having its Centaurus engine replaced by a Pratt & Whitney R2800 was the Hawker Sea Fury T.20 of the fighter collection.

After many previous owners in the US and Australia the Sea Fury Mk.II finally came back to the UK. It is currently painted as one of the Sea Fury prototypes that had a Tail hook but no folding wings.

Rather strangely, the Wildcat was displayed together with the Norwegian DC-3. However, as it is definitely a naval aircraft, I have included it together with the other naval types. This Wildcat is of the FM-2 type. Grumman improved on the original design to make it lighter, more manoeuvrable with better range than its earlier versions. More than 4000 were built of this version which can be distinguished by its taller vertical tail.

 
The Salis collections F4U-5N (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
   
The Naval formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
The Salis collections F4U-5N (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Fighter Collections Corsair FG-1D (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Fighter Collections Corsair FG-1D (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Fighter Collections Corsair FG-1D (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
The Fighter Collections Corsair FG-1D (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Fighter Collections Bearcat F8F (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Fighter Collections Bearcat F8F (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Fighter Collections Bearcat F8F (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
The Sea Fury T.20 of the Fighter Collecton (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Sea Fury T.20 of the Fighter Collecton (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Hawker Sea Fury Mk.2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Sea Fury T.20 of the Fighter Collecton (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
The Sea Fury T.20 of the Fighter Collecton (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Hawker Sea Fury Mk.2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Hawker Sea Fury Mk.2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Sea Fury T.20 of the Fighter Collecton (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
The Hawker Sea Fury Mk.2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Hawker Sea Fury Mk.2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Grumman Wildcat FM-2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Grumman Wildcat FM-2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Curtiss Fighters

 

Already before the Airshow it was announced that the Curtiss P-36 would not be able to take part. In the days before the event, the Curtiss Hawk 75 also seemed to do a lot of tests.

However, on Saturday there was a three aircraft formation of the Curtiss P-40C, The P-40F and the Hawk 75.

On Sunday all three taxied out to take off. After a while the Hawk 75 taxied back to the dispersal, no doubt having a technical problem. So, on Sunday only the two P-40ís could display. This clearly demonstrated once again, that nothing can be taken for granted, especially not with aircraft that are still operating well beyond their designed lifespan. With a rare aircraft like the Hawk it would be irresponsible to take any risks. Besides, the French enthusiasts would never forgive if anything would happen to this aircraft as it is hugely popular in France.

Hawk 75, P-40C and P-40F in formation of 3 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Hawk 75, P-40C and P-40F in formation of 3

 

P-40C and P-40F in formation

P-40C and P-40F in formation

P-40C and P-40F in formation

Hawk 75 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Hawk 75 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Hawk 75 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

P-40C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

P-40C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

P-40C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

P-40F (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

P-40F (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

P-40F (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

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Classic Transport

A lot of highly polished aluminium took to the air again.

The classic team with their Douglas DC-3 and three Beech 18 performed formation flying. All the Beech are former Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft that found their way into civilian hands. This is the only team in Europe performing formation flying with such big aircraft.

The highly polished DC-3 from Norway had brought a load of Norwegian enthusiasts to Duxford. Like always, it was flown in a very lively manner, and not at all as you would expect  from an aircraft that was built in 1942.

 
Classic Team in four ship formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Classic Team crossover (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Classic Team in four ship formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) Classic Team in four ship formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 

Classic Team break (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Norwegian Dakota (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Norwegian Dakota (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder) The Norwegian Dakota (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)
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last update 4. September 2018

Written 30. August 2018

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