For some unexplained reason, RIAT and Flying Legends were scheduled for the same weekend and this made it challenging to attend both this year. Somehow I made it to both and I can add that it was certainly worth it. At RIAT I saw many modern military jets where at Duxford, the event is dedicated to "Flying Legends". Of course being a British event, the skies were dominated by British aircraft such as Spitfires, Furyies, a Lancaster and Hawker Hurricanes, but there were also many American developed aircraft such as P51 Mustangs, P38 Lightning, F4-U Corsairs, Dakota DC3, Grumman Wildcat, a Bearcat, Beach 18s, P40s, a P47, even 4 German Luftwaffe Buchons.
The "Flying Legends" show only start at 14:00 on the day and there are therefore lots of time to visit the stalls where you can buy air show merchandise, food or event support an aviation restoration project but every second stall had books. Book, books and more books. Perhaps this is why this nation is so history and heritage conscious or possibly the reason why the pound is such a strong currency, I leave it for you to decide.
Retired RAF veterans signing books
Equally fascinating was the enthusiasm of everyone at the show and the extent to which many try to re-enact the era that made these legends.
At 14:00 it was the moment we were all waiting for: "The Spitfire Scramble". For as far as I could see down the apron, I could see Spitfires and when they all started up, the roar of Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon engines sent shivers down my spine. As they taxied past us for take-off, I realised that this sound must have been common in those days but was certainly not as exciting as today.
Blenheim and Spitfire Formation
A tribute to Naval Flying Legends showcased two Corsairs and a Bearcat. The Corsair impressed with its sheer power but the grace of the Bearcat was equally impressive.
The P40 is not an aircraft seen frequently and even at Oshkosh I have not seen many but we all know the P40 Pearl Harbour story and seeing two immaculate P40s in formation was an enjoyable moment.
P40C and P40F in formation
We do see a Seafury and a Fury in South Africa from time to time and this, the fastest piston engine aircraft ever developed certainly increased the pace of an already fast-paced show.
As part of the RAF centenary it was a privilege to see the "Battle of Britten Memorial Flight Lancaster". This is a rare sight as there are only 2 in flying condition left in the world today.
Another rare sight was a DC3 with 3 Beach 18s in classic formation.
DC3 and Beach 18 formation
The 1968 motion picture "Battle of Brittan" was filmed here at Duxford 50 years ago and during the air show, we saw one more take of this historic re-enactment. Four Luftwaffe Buchons, a Spitfire MK1, MKV and MKIX took part in this rare display.
Spitfire defending the skies
A Red Bull aircraft collection consisting of a P38, B25, Corsair and a DC6 flashed through the skies with its perfectly polished aluminium structures. The P38 is especially rare and it is nice to see that aircraft such as these are kept in such pristine flying condition.
The Flying Bulls
The United States Airforce Heritage Flight included a P35 Lightning, a P51 Mustang and a Spitfire MKV. This year, and I assume that it is because of the RAF centenary, was the first ever US Heritage flight with a non-American aircraft in the formation.