Flying Legends Airshow at IWM Duxford

Preview of the Flying Legends Airshow 2017: Review of Legends 2016 at IWM Duxford

Flying Legends Airshow

8th & 9th July 2017
Balbo at Flying Legends

Balbo at Flying Legends 2016

One of the most popular warbird air shows and possibly THE heritage air show of the aviation calendar. Historic piston engined aircraft in rare combinations in the air and an authentic 1940s atmosphere on the ground. The finale is a 'balbo', a massed-formation featuring many of the aircraft that took part in the flying displays.

The aircraft announced so far are listed in the table.

As well as the flying displays, many of the aircraft can be viewed up close in the static line-up on both mornings of the show and you can also visit all of the hangars and museums at no extra cost.

There is also vintage entertainment and ground displays including singers and re-enactors. (... continued below the information box)

Aircraft count so far

53 aircraft have been announced
(counting the Red Arrows as 9 and the Classic Formation as 3)
3 Hurricanes
12 Seafire / Spitfires
5 Mustangs

About IWM Duxford

Duxford was an airfield in the First World War and was an RAF fighter station and then an American fighter base in the second. It was the base of the first operational Spitfire squadron during WW2.

It is now home to the Imperial War Museum with aviation, tanks, military vehicles and naval exhibits as well as the Fighter Collection, The Old Flying Machine Company, The Aircraft Restoration Company, Historic Aircraft Collection, B-17 Preservation Society and others.

Due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)

Beechcraft Beech-18 N21FS & N223CM (flying with DC3: Classic Formation)
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'
Bristol Blenheim Mk 1 G-BPIV
Bücker Jungmann G-BSAJ
Curtiss-Wright P-36C G-CIXJ
Curtiss-Wright P40C G-CIIO
Curtiss-Wright P40F Warhawk G-CGZP 'Lee's Hope'
Curtiss-Wright Hawk 75A G-CCVH
de Havilland DH88 'Comet' G-ACSS: Shuttleworth Collection
Douglas DC-3 N431HM (flying with Beech-18 pair: Classic Formation)
Douglas C-53D-DO Dakota LN-WND
Gloster Gladiator 'N5903' G-GLAD
Gloster Gladiator 'K7985' G-AMRK: Shuttleworth Collection
Goodyear Corsair FG-1D G-FGID
Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat G-RUMM
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat G-RUMW
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HUPW
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HITT 'P3717'
Hawker Hurricane Mk XII G-HURI
Hawker Nimrod Mk 1 G-BWWK
Hawker Sea Fury Mk.II G-CBEL
Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 F-AZXJ
Hispano HA-112 Buchón G-AWHK 'Yellow 10'
LeVier Cosmic Wind G-ARUL
North American P-51B Mustang N431HM 'Berlin Express'
North American TF51D Mustang G-TFSI 'Miss Velma'
North American P-51D Mustang 'Moonbeam McSwine' WITHDRAWN
North American P-51D Mustang 'Shark mouth'
North American P-51D Mustang "Frenesi" 'N-357FG'
North American P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen'
Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF: Shuttleworth Collection
Red Arrows
Supermarine Seafire LF111 G-BUAR 'PP972'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk I G-CGUK 'X4650'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a G-CFGJ 'N3200'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia G-AIST 'P7308'
Supermarine Spitfire LFVb EP120 G-LFVB
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb 'BM597 G-MKVB
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1X G-LFIX 'Grace Spitfire'
Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk IX G-BRSF 'RR232'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1Xb G-ASJV 'MH434'
Supermarine Spitfire Tr9 G-CCCA 'PV202'
Supermarine Spitfire FRX1V G-SPIT 'MV268'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XV111 G-BUOS 'SM845'
Supermarine Spitfire PRXIX F-AZJS CANCELLED Damaged in accident in France on 11 June
Travel Air Type R 'Mystery Ship' G-TATR
Additionally, most aircraft involved in the flying displays will be on static display beforehand
All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints

Fifty vintage aircraft - and a jet

Heritage Flight F-22 Raptor & P-51 Mustang at Flying Legends 2016

F-22 Raptor & P-51 Mustang at Flying Legends 2016

As Monty Python didn't say, 'no-one expects the jet evolution' at Flying Legends, but a legend it is, so the F-22 made a rare non-piston appearance at the 2016 show. Otherwise it was business as usual, with around 50 vintage types gracing the skies over Duxford for the 23rd incarnation of one of the most popular warbird air shows in the world.

Ahead of Flying Legends in 2016, much of the talk was around the new CAA regulations; the display line; the crowd line; the closure of the 'tank bank' and absence of tickets on the gate. Anyone who feared a negative impact should have been very pleasantly surprised. Advance ticketing certainly eased entry. Straightening the crowd line by moving forward much of the barrier line from the central area eastwards, and measuring the crowd separation distances from these points rather than the tank bank on the far west, brought the crowd closer to the action rather than making the action more distant, as had been feared. It also enabled the usual multi-axis displays to continue. Brave changes by the organisers that had attracted many groans ahead of time, but very effective and possibly the format for future Duxford airshows.

The show was not a sell-out on either day and the crowds appeared thinner than in earlier years, although that thinness may have appeared exaggerated by the enhanced efficiency of the layout. The normally shallow crowd area on the tarmac in front of the classic airliners, for example, now spread further forward to allow greater crowd depth. Another change for 2017 was a ban on tents and windbreaks ahead of a white line drawn several metres behind the front of the crowd line. This very welcome change prevented the usual 'hogging' of prime space by an advance guard, saving space with a line of windbreaks for themselves and others who do not arrive until later. Of course, it doesn't stop the placement of seats for the same purpose, and in practice a few tents did appear, but another laudable innovation by the Legends team. (... continued below the pictures)

Grumman Avenger

Grumman Avenger


F-22 Raptor at Flying Legends 2016

Hawker Sea Fury

Hawker Sea Fury

Hawker Nimrod K3661

Hawker Nimrod Mk2 K3661

Perhaps because of the lower numbers, perhaps because of the advance ticket only rule, but for whatever reason the roads and entry lanes coped wonderfully all weekend. Once inside, apart from getting the feel of the new layout, visitors were able to view many of the aircraft up close in the static line-up for three hours during each morning for an extra £5; wander through the museums, free to enter as always during Duxford airshows. This year an impressive collection of large scale model warbirds were on display in the 'Vintage Village'. The village, also had vintage entertainment including The Manhattan Dolls, an American swing band, Laurel & Hardy and 1940's hair & makeup demonstrations and there were the usual trade, charity and aviation interest stalls.

On Saturday the weather was dry but not bright enough for the best photos and rather windy. On Sunday the day started very wet but cleared just in time for the displays, becoming rather better than the day before. On both days the show's opening sequence involved half-a-dozen Spitfires and the only airworthy Seafire in the world, Air Leasing’s Mklll, with a slightly different routine each day, providing between the days plenty of wingovers and half-cubans as well as a tailchase as a backdrop with the Mk X1V drawing focus in the foreground. Typically mood-setting Flying Legends intros, albeit disappointingly short.

Seven such aircraft will always draw attention, but a particular highlight was Spitfire Mk.Vb EP122, recently rebuilt by Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar from remains recovered from Malta and flying at Legends only 2 months after its first post-build flight on 4th May. Those wanting to see the unusual Mediterranean-era livery were disappointed, though, as the Mk.Vb was devoid of cannon and wearing a less interesting scheme as a Dunkirk veteran, representing R9649 to suit filming requirements.

As well as BHHH's Spitfire another débutante, and late addition to the flying programme, was North Weald Heritage Aviation's recent acquisition, Hawker Fury Mk.11 G-CBEL, the subject of a great deal of enthusiast attention in the days leading up to the show. The Fury was in its very photogenic Sea Fury prototype paint scheme and looked even more attractive when airborne in the more-than-capable hands of Richard Grace: the star of the show in the eyes of many at Legends 2016.

Another débutante was Mustang was Miss Helen, which flew at Duxford with the F-22 as the latest in the sequence of USAF 'Heritage Flights', when warbirds and their contemporary counterparts display together. Miss Helen, a 'filmstar', having flown in the same 'Memphis Belle' movie as Sally B, flew on both days of the show and is the last original 352nd Fighter Group P-51 known to exist. 'Miss Helen', now owned privately by Robert Tyrell and based at the Boultbee Flight Academy in Goodwood, has only recently returned to flight following its landing accident in 2008. The pair made several passes before the sky was cleared for Heritage Flight pilot Dan Friedkin's F-22 Raptor solo.

Shiny coats were in vogue with two out of three Hawks, the Swiss-based Classic Formation of two Beech 18s and a DC-3 - another Legends first - and two of the three Flying Bulls all sporting bodies to match the polish of their displays.

In true Flying Legends tradition, there was plenty of flying by aircraft from the stables of the Fighter Collection and other returnees. A litany of those aircraft will not be recited here - they are listed in the table - but worthy of special mention were the Nick Grey's athletic Gladiator display; the Buchón pair in close formation aerobatics; a routine involving a trio of Mustangs (pair on Sunday), 'Miss Velma' (Saturday only), 'Moonbeam McSwine' and 'Sharkmouth' transitioning to a 'Miss Velma', Sharkmouth and Sally B 'bomber and escort' demonstration and ultimately a Sally solo, and the pleasing number of curving topside passes throughout the afternoon.

On the downside, there were rather a lot of cancellations. The windy conditions didn't suit the WW1 fleet, but that couldn't be helped. Several technical issues further reduced the numbers and others were cancelled without obvious cause. Fourteen pages in the programme - about a third - were dedicated to aircraft that didn't actually fly on the day, including the Storch which was to have made its last UK display here before moving to its new home in Norway. The table indicates the cancellations, with reasons where we know them.

Some have accused Legends of rolling out the same aircraft in varying combinations under different themes but that misses the point on two counts. First, every airshow lineup has repeat participants - the Red Arrows have over 50 displays in their 2016 schedule and surely no-one tires of them: so, too, it is good to see The Fighter Collection's vintage treasures as many times as they are able to fly. The second count is that, even if the same or similar aircraft are involved, the themes do tell a varying story. This year's novelty was the story of Malta, linked with the Battle of Britain, featuring a pair of Gloster Gladiators (one on Sunday), a pair of Hispano Buchóns (representing ME109s), the Bristol Blenheim, a Mk1 Spitfire and a Hurricane.

As always, the finale was a balbo by a skyful of Spitfires and friends. In truth, the sky was not quite as full as it has been, with 20 aircraft on Saturday and 17 fighters on Sunday, but no less spectacular for that.

Flying (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
Albatros DV.a. (cancelled - unserviceable)
Beech-18 N21FS (with 2nd Beech-18 and DC-3)
Beech-18 N223CM (with 2nd Beech-18 and DC-3)
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'
Bristol Blenheim Mk l G-BPIV
Bucker Jungmann G-BSAJ
Chance Vought F-4U-4 Corsair (Flying Bulls)
Chance Vought F4U-5NL Corsair (MaxAlfa) (cancelled)
Curtiss P-40C Warhawk G-CIIO
Curtiss P-40F Warhawk "Lee's Hope" (withdrawn - hydraulic problem)
Curtiss H-75A Hawk
Curtiss P-36C
Douglas DC-3 (with 2x Beech-18)
Douglas Dakota LN-WND
F-22A Raptor Heritage flight with P=51D mustang 'Miss Helen'
Fieseler Fi Storch (cancelled - too windy)
Gloster Gladiator G-GLAD
Gloster Gladiator G-AMRK
Goodyear Corsair FG-1D G-FGID0
Grumman TBM Avenger 'Charlie's Heavy'
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat G-RUMW
Grumman Bearcat F8F G-RUMM
Hawker Fury Mk l G-CBZP
Hawker Hurricane Mk Xll G-HURI 'Z5140'
Hawker Nimrod Mk I G-BWWK
Hawker Nimrod Mk ll G-BURZ 'K3661'
... continued from column on the left
Hawker Sea Fury Mk II G-CBEL
Hispano HA-112 Buchón 'Yellow 10' G-BWUE
Hispano HA-112 Buchón 'Ace of Spades' G-AWHE
Lockheed 12A Junior Electra (Patrick Donovan) (from Seattle)
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Flying Bulls)
Morane D-3801 (MS406) HB-RFC (cancelled)
North American B-25J Mitchell (Flying Bulls)
Mustang Miss Helen

North American P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen' Heritage flight with F-22A Raptor

North American P-51D Mustang 'Sharkmouth'
North American TF51D Mustang G-TFSI 'Miss Velma'

North American P-51D Mustang F-AZXS 'Moonbeam McSwine'

Piper L-4 Grasshopper Piper L4J 'Grasshopper'
Sopwith Snipe (Attended but too windy to fly)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk I G-CGUK 'X4650' (withdrawn - on filming duties)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia G-CFGJ 'N3200'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia G-AIST 'P7308' (withdrawn - on filming duties)
Supermarine Seafire LFIII G-BAUR
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb G-MKVB 'BM597'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb G-CISV 'EP122'
Supermarine Spitfire LFVb EP120 G-LFVB
Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIIIc D-FEUR (cancelled)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb G-ASJV 'MH434'
Supermarine Spitfire LFlX 'Grace Spitfire'
Supermarine Spitfire FR XIV G-SPIT
Supermarine Seafire Mk XVII G-KASX (withdrawn)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII G-BUOS 'SM845' (cancelled)


Local area

Getting to the Show

By car

Duxford is in Cambridgeshire, off Junction 10 of the M11. If you are coming from the north, a signposted alternative is to leave at Junction 11 and take the A10 to Royston, then the A505. This is a much longer route designed to split the traffic up. There is parking at the museum. The Post Code (for Sat Nav) is CB22 4QR but some systems will only recognise the older code CB2 4QR. There is a park and ride at Junction 11 of the M11 on show days. The bus is free (you have to show your show ticket) but parking isn't.

By coach

National Express have direct coach services to Cambridge. You can book seats online. Click the National Express name to go to their web site.

By Train

The easiest train station is Cambridge, which has a direct service from London. A half-hourly courtesy bus runs between the show ground and Cambridge station on show days. Otherwise take a Stagecoach service C7 or Myalls service 132.

Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.

The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose, but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.

Travel Advice

Road traffic updates
Highways Agency
National Express
Incidents and enquiries
National Railway Map
DIY pocket timetable
Journey planning by public transport
Route planners (Road)
Bing (Microsoft)

Accommodation near the show

It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.

There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.

There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.

If you need plenty of options, we find that, between them, LateRooms and Expedia list a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. Expedia also give, and take, Nectar points.

Click either blue agency name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into both links, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates.

Trivago will list competitive prices for a range of hotels, but they might not necessarily find them all, because some chains do not subscribe to their service. You may also get a better rate if you book direct with an hotel, especially if you are a member of a loyalty or rewards scheme.

The International Hotels Group have a Holiday Inn Express near the airshow but it sells out very quickly for airshow dates. There is another Holiday Inn Express and a Holiday Inn in Cambridge about 9 miles away and a Holiday Inn Express in Stanstead about 20 miles to the south. There are three Premier Inn hotels in Cambridge and another two within 20 miles of the show.

Weather for the show area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day Duxford weather forecast from the UK Met Office

The Met office seven-day forecast includes maximum, minimum and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind direction, gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.

The BBC's five-day forecast has overall conditions including temperatures, UV range and a description that may help to determine how pleasant the day will be for the visitor.

Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.

2017 Show

July 8th & 9th

Airshow links

Flying Legends web site


Advance booking only
No tickets on the gate

Too late for Super Earlybird
until 25th June '17
£31.50, Child £17, Senior £25
From 26th June '17
Adult £35, Child £19, Senior £27.50

See website for other concessions and for weekend & premium tickets.
Parking free but must be booked.
Flightline walk: pay on the day
(09.00 - 12.00) £5


Gates 08.00
Flying 14.00 - 17.30
Entertainment 09.00 until flying begins then 17.30 - 18.30


Sat Nav CB22 4QR

For links to travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting there' tab


Photos taken at Flying Legends 2015