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Aerostars
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The Bomber Will Get Through
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Lest We Forget
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Breighton Fighters
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Spitfire Magic
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Eastern Front
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Gallic Pride
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Last of the Biplanes
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Without doubt Flying Legends is the best warbird show in the world. No other show like it has such a wide following of pilots or enthusiasts. Nor does any other UK show attract such a wealth of veterans that flew these piston engined warriors in combat. All goes together to make Flying Legends a truly unique spectacle on the UK airshow calendar.  This years legends was marked by a number of debuts as well as a number of final displays before aircraft go off to pastures new. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK Reports. All Photography copyright of author.

Transports
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Naval Air Power
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Over Here
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Silver Arrows
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Bristol Fashion
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The weather for Flying Legends was a substantial improvement over that for the May air display at Duxford and once again Duxford played host to huge crowds for the highlight of their display year. As ever there was a veriatble feast of historic piston powered combat and transport aircraft gathered for the show that is not seen together at other shows.

 "Finale Grande!!!"

 The Legends finale is one of those annual spectacle's that in your author's opinion remains an awesome sight. The simple logistics of getting 30 warbirds in the air and in the same direction are staggering and then you have to get them on the ground in the shortest possible time yet safely!

The display kicked off with the now traditional massed Spitfires. In previous years the Merlins have tailchased over the backdrop while the Griffons charged up and down closer to the crowd. For change this was reversed this year allowing the Merlins to really take centre stage. The helped highlight the debut this year of Peter Monks Spitfire MkIX TA805, a former South African Air Force example. Also making a welcome return to the circuit after major overhaul was the Fighter Collection's Spitfire MkXIV. Making a welcome return was Corsair Warbird's Spitfire PRXIX was the contra-rotating Griffon engine making an interesting contrast in engine performance and handling with the normally propellor-ed examples!

Another type always at Legends en masse is the P-51D Mustang. This year saw saw the usual stampede of the type and the close formation led by Mr. Mustang - Ed Shipley in TFC's two Mustangs - P-51C Princess Elizabeth and P-51D Twilight Tear. Making it's legends debut under it's new owners was Susy from the Real Aeroplane Company which joined in with the OFMC's Ferocious Frankie and Rob Davies Big Beautiful Doll performing a tailchase. As ever, there were representatives of the 8th Air Force bombing effort in the form of B-17G Flying Fortresses Sally B and Pink Lady.

The earliest aircraft on show were three Bristol F2b Fighters. Sadly, Sunday's conditions meant that three did not make it into the air leaving it to the Shuttleworth Collection's example to brave the wind before heading home. Also from Old Warden was the Gladiator representing the RAF's fighter just before the outbreak of war and the arrival of Spitfire and Hurricane.

The Real Aeroplane Company also had another aircraft making it's debut. It's new Messerschitt Me109J Buchon - (otherwise known as a CASA HA-1112-M1L Buchon C1K-102!!!!) This aircraft has been restored over many years and made it's first flight this yeat in the hands of OFMC chief pilot Nigel Lamb. It's marked up a Bf109G of JG27 based on the Greek Island of Rhodes during early 1943. It appeared alongwith it's stablemate at RACo, Hawker Hurricane XIIc BE417. Both aircraft have subsequebtly been sold to a collection based at Duxford and will remain on the UK circuit. They were joined by Alaian Capel's Yak-3UPW as part of an Eastern Front tableau depicting the major types of the Soviet Union and the Germans in that bloody campaign. An aircraft that made it's legends debut a couple of years ago and hasn't yet left is Aviarestoration's Polikarpov I-15bis. This aircraft only ever seems to appear in the skies for Flying Legends and is believed to be up for sale. An somewhat odd inclsuion was the Aerostars team of Yak-50s. Despite being a unlimited aerobatic aircraft, they are infact developed from World War Two vintage aircraft and the Aerostars colour schemes are mostly representative of famous russian air aces personal markings.

Axis aircraft are always a rare sight this side of the Chennal so it's always a pleasure to have the Lufthansa Historic Collection pair of Junker Ju-52M-3 and Messerschmitt Bf108 Taifun at Flying Legends to represent the "enemy." The aircraft are beautifully presented and it's good to know they still earn a living giving pleasure flights. It's always good to see some of the slower transport aircraft included in the Legends show. TFC recently welcomed a Beech Staggerwing into it's fleet and it was joined by a Fox Moth, Mark Milller's De Havilland Dragon Rapide and a De Havilland Dragon from the Norman Aeroplane Trust for some more gentle flying.

Of course the greatest transport aircraft of them all is the Douglas DC-3/C-47/53 Dakota and Legends '07 was graced with two beautiful and different examples of the type. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Dakota III was displayed alongwith the usual formation of Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane. The Lanc was making a very welcome appearance having missed the last few shows. The other Dakota was the highly polished and immaculate C-53D from Foundation Dakota Norway in a natural metal finish.

Naval air power was very well represented too. Making it's own Legends debut was the Supermarine Seafire XVII front Kennet Aviation. As well as it's naval modifications, the early Griffoin engine not only gives the aircraft a completely different look, but also it looks different in the air. Noy only did it join it's contempory, the Royal Navy Historic Flight's Sea Fury, but also it's stable mate from Kennet, the Skyraider. Another aircraft making it's UK debut was the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina from the Stichting Neptune Association based in the Netherlands. This Dutch marked "Cat" was joined by the UK based example from Plane Sailing for some very lazy slow flypasts over the Cambridgeshire country side. Three examples of the F4U/FG-1D Corsair gave a powerful account of themselves. Against, this trio contained a further UK debut in the form of Cluade Semindaaz's aeronavale marked F4U.

A traditiion at Legends is a massed fly-by the Grumman Cats. This was actaully quite a sad occasion as it was the last time TFC's fourship of Cats would be seen together. After the show, the F7F Tigercat was dismantled on it's way to a new owner in the USA which will leave just the three single engined fighters. Another long time TFC stalwart off to pastures new is P-47D-40 Thunderbolt No Guts No Glory. This aircraft has been replaced at the collection by a razorback example which should be airworthy in the next few years.

Finally, perhaps was the biggest highlights of the show was the pair of French Fighters from the early second world war years. TFC's Curtis Hawk 75 was joined by a Morane MS406 from Assocation Morane Charlie Fox. The latter was making it's UK debut and the formation had only been seen once before at le Ferte Alais earlier in the year. The MS406, like the Hawk, is the only one of it's type still flying hence making the formation even more special, espeacially to french veterans of the second world war.

As ever, Legends set incredibly high standards with some of the rarest aircraft, brilliant flying display organisation and display flying. Legends has a unique atmosphere, not only amongst the Duxford shows, but the whole airshow season assuring visitors of a memorable experience.

 copyright Flightline UK