Duxford – Flying Legends airshow. Once you have been there once it is quite difficult not to come back, as this show offers a real blast of piston engine powered aircraft. No jets, no noise, just pure music. 2011 was another year for me to go back to this legendary show.
Where? Duxford, Cambridgeshire, Great Britain
Of course Duxford also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (BoB) this year and it became a major theme of the event. To open the show not less than 8 Spiftires took to the air and celebrated this iconic fighter.
More important during the BoB, though less looked after today, was the Hawker Hurricane. At the beginning of the show however one example got the chance to 'fight' against a Messerschmitt Bf109 – well, actually it was a spanish-built, Merlin-powerd Buchon. But nevertheless, the display was very good and provided a good comparison between all these different aircraft types.
The RAF's BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) also performed extremely well with a formation of their Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane as well as additional solo displays of each single aircraft and a well times sequence.
Of course not only the BoB was remembered, but also the rest of the European WW II theatre. The Russian part of the show included this year's 'surprise', the German registered Polikarpov I-16 "Ishak". The aircraft was presented by its owner Thomas Jülch on Saturday, and showed off an amazing aerobatic performance when in the hands of Jurgis Kairys on Sunday. Several Yak-3 and Yak-9 were a nice addition to this real "Red Star", of which only a maximum of 6 aircraft are airworthy worldwide.
The USAAF setpiece was dominated by 4 P-51D Mustangs and two TF-51, however the most welcomed view was to see the B-17 "Sally B" in the air again. Furthermore they have been enforced by a P-40N Kittyhawk.
Contrary to this the 'Luftwaffe' was not very strong, with only the Lufthansa Ju-52 and Bf 108 displaying as well as two Bücker Jungsmann and one Jungmeister doing solo aerobatics.
Very British was another part of show, while not only focusing on the BoB, but also on the year's before WW II. There was for example a tribute to the manufacturer Hawker with an excellent formation of three Hawker aircraft, the Demon, Hind and Nimrod.
Other exotic aircraft, which are normally based in the Hangars at Shuttleworth / Old Warden arfield were nice for a change as well besides all the heavily powered fighters. One especially remarkable aircraft of those was the Mew Gull dashing around the circuit.
Big, beautfull, blue… might have been the topic of the Navy aircraft that were presented. These offered some real attractions as well: the F8F Bearcat of "The Fighter Collection" – only the second British-registered aircraft of them that recently re-gained its permit-to-fly, and of course the beautiful F4U Corsair in French Aeronavale markings, kindly brought over the Channel from Bremgarten, Germany by MeierMotors and Max Alpha Aviation. Another treat were also the two Furies, often described as "the ultimative piston engined fighter".
To the end of the afternoon it got a bit slower as everyone was preparing in their aircraft for the "Balbo", the big fly-by and Flying Legends' trademark to conclude the show.
Before that however the Danish DC-3 was a real crowd-pleaser and the Breitling Wingwalkers put a good contrast with their orange Stearmans against the bright blue sky with white puffy clouds.
Of course before the start of the display around 50 aircraft were lined up on the grass 'apron' and ready for inspection during the 'flightline walk' from around 0930 am on. As usual several actors not only acted as security, but provided also nice motives as they were dressed in contemporary cloths.
Something more to say??? Oh yes, it was really hot with more than 30°C, and I have never experienced such a 'hot' show in Duxford. And hopefully some more TFC aircraft will take it to the air for next year's event, which is already scheduled for the weekend of July, 9th/10th 2011.
Links and Information:
IWM Duxford: http://duxford.iwm.org.uk/