Flying Legends Airshow at IWM Duxford

Preview of Flying Legends 2019

Flying Legends 2019

July 13th & 14th

The finale is a balbo

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.

Expect a wealth of warbirds including around a dozen Spitfires in the company of other types.

Aircraft totals so far

Different types16
All Aircraft39 (including 9 Red Arrows)

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.

Red Arrows (Saturday only)
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'
Bristol Blenheim G-BPIV (ARC)
PBY-5A Catalina
Curtiss-Wright P-36C
Curtiss-Wright P-40C
Curtiss-Wright P-40F
Curtiss-Wright Hawk 75
Dakota (BBMF)
Goodyear Corsair
Grumman Bearcat
Grumman Wildcat
Hawker Fury Mk 11 G-CBEL (Painted as Sea Fury Prototype)
Sea Fury T.20Hawker Sea Fury T.20 G-INVN (The Fighter Collection)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon, ‘Yellow 7’ G-AWHM (Air Leasing)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon 'White 9' G-AWHH: Anglia Aircraft RestorationsHispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon "White 9" G-AWHH (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Hispano Buchon 2-seater G-AWHC (Air Leasing)
Hispano HA-1112 Buchon G-AWHK 'Yellow 10' (ARC)
North American P-51D Mustang 'Contrary Mary' (formerly 'Miss Velma') G-TFSI (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
P-51D Mustang 'The Shark'
Supermarine Spitfire LFVb 'EP120'
Spitfire MkVc G-LFVC
Supermarine Spitfire FR XlV G-SPIT MV268 (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Spitfire MkVc G-IBSYSupermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-IBSY 'EE602' (Anglia Restorations)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a G-CFGJ 'N3200' (IWM)
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk X1 G-PRXI 'PL983' (ARCo)
Supermarine Spitfire Vb BM597 G-MKVB (HAC)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb G-ASJV MH434 (Old Flying Machine Company)
Supermarine Spitfire Tr.9 PT462 G-CTIX (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI (Low Back) (G-OXVI)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVlll G-BUOS 'SM845' (Spitfire Ltd)
Additionally, most aircraft involved in the flying displays will be on static display beforehand.

Flying Legends 2018

14th &15th July 2018

The finale is a balbo

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.

This year there were no fewer than 4 Hispano Buchons and a similar number of Hurricanes and Mustangs, notably the return of Miss Velma, now repainted as 'Contrary Mary'; the arrival of 'Trusty Rusty' and the return after about 7 years of N351MX, now painted as WR-Z ‘The Hun Hunter \ Texas’. Also appearing were more than a dozen Spitfires. Other highlights were a good showing from the Flying Bulls including the rarely seen DC-6B; the Classic Formation and Air Leasing's Republic 47-D Thunderbolt.

Aircraft totals

Buchons 4
Hurricanes 4
Mustangs 4
Spitfires 15
Different types23
All Aircraft 51

The Fighter Collection's Fiat CR.42 Falco was on display in their hangar

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.

 Alphajet pair (Flying Bulls) CANCELLED
Avro Lancaster (BBMF)(Sunday only)
Boeing B-17G Sally B
Bristol Blenheim G-BPIV (ARC)
Bücker Jungmann G-BSAJ (Skytricks)
Chance-Vought Corsair (Flying Bulls)

Classic Formation comprising DC3 and 3 Beech 18s
Curtiss P40F Warhawk 'Lees Hope' (TFC)
Curtiss-Wright Hawk 75 (TFC)
Curtiss-Wright P-40C (TFC)
Curtiss-Wright P-36C (TFC) WITHDRAWN
Douglas C-53D-DO Dakota LN-WND (Foundation Dakota Norway)
Douglas DC-6BDouglas DC-6B (Flying Bulls)
Goodyear Corsair (TFC)
Grumman Bearcat (TFC)
Grumman Wildcat (TFC)
Hawker Fury Mk 11 G-CBEL (Painted as Sea Fury Prototype)
Hawker Hurricane P2902Hawker Hurricane Mk.I P2902 G-ROBT (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Hawker Hurricane Mk. I ‘P3717’ G-HITT (Bygone Aviation Ltd)
Hawker Hurricane Mk IIa F-AZXR
Hawker Hurricane Mk Xlla G-HURI (Historic Aircraft Collection)
Sea Fury T-20Hawker Sea Fury T.20 G-CHFP (The Fighter Collection)
Heritage Flight: F-35A Lightning & P-51D Mustang
Hispano HA-1112 Buchon G-AWHC (Air Leasing). The 2-seater's Flying Legends Debut
Hispano HA-1112 Buchon G-AWHK (ARC)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon "White 9" G-AWHH (Air Leasing)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon, Bf109 ‘Yellow 7’ G-AWHM (Air Leasing)
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Flying Bulls)
North American B-25J Mitchell (Flying Bulls)
 North American P-51B Mustang N-515ZB 'Berlin Express' (Comanche Fighters) WITHDRAWN
North American P-51D Mustang G-SHWN 'The Shark' (Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)
Mustang-Trusty-RustyNorth American P-51D Mustang 'Trusty Rusty'
North American P-51D Mustang 'Contrary Mary' (formerly 'Miss Velma') G-TFSI (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
North American P-51D Mustang 'The Hun Hunter \Texas' 'N351MX' (Comanche Fighters)
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Republic P-47D Thunderbolt G-THUN 'Nellie'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 G-CGUK (Comanche Warbirds)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a G-AIST
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a G-CFCG (IWM)
Supermarine Spitfire LFVb EP120 (TFC)
Spitfire MkVc G-LFVCSupermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-LFVC JG891 (Comanche Fighters)
Spitfire MkVc G-IBSYSupermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-IBSY 'EE602' (Anglia Restorations)
Supermarine Spitfire Tr9 G-CCCA (ARC)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk lXb G-ASJV MH434
Supermarine Spitfire Mk lX G-LFIX 'ML407'
Supermarine Spitfire Vb BM597 G-MKVB (HAC)
Supermarine Spitfire Tr.9 PT462 G-CTIX (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk X1 G-PRXI 'PL983' (ARCo)
Supermarine Spitfire FR XlV G-SPIT MV268 (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI (Low Back) (G-OXVI)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVlll G-BUOS 'SM845' (Spitfire Ltd)
Vought Corsair F4U-5N F-AZEG (AJBS Les Casques de Cuir)
Additionally, most aircraft involved in the flying displays will be on static display beforehand and the restored, but not yet flying, Fiat CR.42 Falco will be on display in the TFC hangar.

Flying Legends Airshow

Golden show on Silver Anniversary
Battle of Britain flypast

Battle of Britain Flypast

Last year the buzz around Flying Legends surrounded the inclusion of a jet - the F-22 Raptor - and the new layout, designed to minimise the impact of the safety regulation changes. This year the layout of the museum followed the pattern established in 2016, with no 'tank bank' and most of the crowdline from the central area eastwards further forward, but it barely raised a mention amongst fans or commentators. Perhaps that just goes to show how well the changes were designed and managed in 2016.

Other features of Flying Legends that maintained the usual high standard were the impressive number and variety of aircraft - 44 plus the Red Arrows - access to the museums; three hours of access to the Flightline Walk; the ability to attract fans from all over the globe and the special atmosphere in the wartime airfield that is unique to this Imperial War Museum venue.

Although there was spectacle all around, the most significant were in the air and one of the most memorable was the sight of five Hurricanes (four on Saturday) flying in formation with three Mk. 1 Spitfires and the Blenheim. Amongst the quintet on Sunday was Anglia Aircraft restoration's Mk 1 P2902 at its first public show since its recreation from the parts rescued from Dunkirk, where it was crash landed by Pilot Officer Kenneth McGlashan. P2902 became the world's 15th airworthy Hurricane when it took its first post-restoration flight on 19th June 2017, less than three weeks before its debut at Legends: the five Hurricanes in the Sunday formation representing a third of all airworthy Hurricanes in the world.

The display began with the Spitfires and built into the Battle of Britain flypast before the Hurricanes broke off for their display, including gently flowing aerobatics by P2909, followed by alternating Blenheim and IWM Spitfire N3200 solos. A first class section of the show and for many the highlight of Legends 2017. (... continued below the pictures)

4 Hurricanes

Four Hurricanes on Saturday


Buchón 'Black 8'

Sally B and Mustang

Sally B with Mustang escort

There were other massive achievements leading up to Legends 2017 that make Flying Legends one of the greats amongst airshows worldwide. Notable amongst them in 2017 were the arrival of two Mustangs from the USA. One, 'Frenesi', a P-51D, was dismantled and crated for the journey. The other, P-51B 'Berlin Express', was brought over the hard way by Lee Lauderback. With nearly 10,000 Mustang hours in his log book he is the most experienced pilot of the type in the world, ever. The 5,470 mile journey via Goose Bay, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland was followed by enthusiasts via several web sites. Once, this would have been a regular journey as aircraft were ferried from the USA to the UK, but these days it qualifies as a rare, epic flight, ending at Duxford on July 4th, in time to allow its new owner, Dan Friedkin, to display at the show alongside Steve Hinton and Ed Shipley as part of the Horsemen Flight Team. Well, that was the plan and Lee did his bit. Unfortunately on Saturday, the first day of Flying Legends, Berlin Express lost its 'Malcolm hood' canopy during Nick Grey's thunderously fast and very low pass over the hard runway. Some reports say the canopy disintegrated and fell; others than it fell and disintegrated on impact with the ground. Either way it is evident that part of the canopy came into contact with the empennage, causing visible damage to the vertical stabiliser, preventing further flight over the Flying Legends weekend and also a planned appearance at the following week's RIAT.

Without Berlin Express the much-anticipated return to Legends of The Horsemen Flight Team, the world's only P-51 Mustang formation aerobatic team, was delayed for a day. On Sunday, following an aircraft change to Frenesi, Miss Helen and The Shark, the trio, led by Steve Hinton with Ed Shipley and Dan Friedkin on either side, did make their first Mustang three-ship display at Flying Legends for eight years. Those who were at the show on Sunday witnessed a majestic close formation display, worthy of the reputation the team brought with them. On Saturday the gap in the programme left by their absence was filled by an extra solo display by Pete Kynsey in the Grumman Bearcat F8F: a fine display in its own right but inevitably a disappointment, especially for those unable to come back on Sunday to see The Horsemen.

The Bearcat had previously been in action as part of a Naval Fighters trio comprising, as well as the Bearcat, the Goodyear Corsair and Anglia Aircraft Restoration Company's Mk ll Hawker Fury, playing the role of a Sea Fury. As with several of the displays, there were two displays in one: the Corsair performing solo aerobatics, alternating at stage centre with the Bearcat and Fury flying repeated formation passes including a feast of topsides. (... continued below the pictures)



Just as 2016 was memorable for the inclusion of the F-22, so 2017 will be remembered as the year the Red Arrows made their Legends debut. Before the show, the discussion was around whether it was an appropriate display for a Flying Legends airshow, whose reputation rests on the variety and quantity of piston-engined aircraft. The retrospective discussion will be less about the appropriateness and more about the display itself.

The display itself was a 'pre-show' to the main traditional part of Sunday's Legends. Just before it got underway, Red 10 announced that the display would be offset from the standard B axis to avoid aerobatics over a residential area. The same arrangement applied at the RAF Cosford Airshow a week earlier but, unlike at RAF Cosford, there was no pre-warning this time. The revised oblique line detracts hugely from the impact of the display, especially for those at the eastern end of the airfield for whom most of the manoeuvres appeared very distant. A further distraction was introduced when a stray para-glider caused a halt for several minutes. There was a further interruption to the flow of the show later in the afternoon, when three Squirrel helicopters arrived to bring members of the team for ground-based PR activities. The norm at Flying Legends, and the other shows at IWM Duxford, is for aircraft to be taxiing, taking off, displaying all at the same time in a meticulously planned entwinement of aircraft activity. That is one of the strengths of shows at Duxford. But when the Red Arrows come - for a display or for a visit - there is a prolonged pause in other activity to satisfy their requirement for clear airspace. (... continued below the table)

Flying (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
Consolidated PBY Catalina G-PBYA
Curtiss-Wright P-36C G-CIXJ (DID NOT FLY)
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 DC-3C 'Daisy' SE-CFP
Douglas C-53D-DO Dakota LN-WND
Gloster Gladiator 'N5903' G-GLAD
Gloster Gladiator 'K7985' G-AMRK: Shuttleworth Collection WITHDRAWN
Goodyear Corsair FG-1D G-FGID
Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat G-RUMM
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat G-RUMW
Hawker Fury Mk. II G-CBEL
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HUPW
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HITT 'P3717'
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-ROBT 'P2902': Anglia Aircraft Restorations
Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk 1b G-BKTH 'Z7015/7-L'
Hawker Hurricane Mk XII G-HURI
Hawker Nimrod Mk 1 G-BWWK
Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 F-AZXJ CANCELLED
Hispano HA-112 Buchón G-AWHK 'Black 8'
Messerschmitt Bf 109E (BHHH) CANCELLED
LeVier Cosmic Wind G-ARUL
North American P-51B Mustang N431HM 'Berlin Express' (made one pass on Saturday then was damaged. Did not fly Sunday)
North American TF51D Mustang G-TFSI 'Miss Velma'
North American P-51D Mustang 'Moonbeam McSwine' WITHDRAWN
North American P-51D Mustang G-SHWN 'Sharkmouth'
North American P-51D Mustang "Frenesi" 'N-357FG'
North American P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen'
Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF: Shuttleworth Collection
Red Arrows (Sunday only)
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 were on static display beforehand

Overall, bearing in mind the restrictions that prevent the best display, and the pauses that are uncharacteristic of Duxford shows, some may be forced to wonder if displays by the Red Arrows add anything to such a show as Flying Legends. This is not to criticise the team, whose skills are beyond question. Rather it was the way in which their involvement caused stops and starts in an otherwise flowing airshow. Perhaps they drew additional visitors but surely the vast majority came for the variety and quantity of legendary aircraft that no other show displays as well as Flying Legends.

Many of the highlights this year, as most years, were once-in-a-while displays, such as The Horsemen, who last flew three Mustangs here in 2009, or the five Hurricanes including an airshow débutante. But two highlights that are Flying Legends regulars are the Balbo and the opening Spitfire formation.

The opening formation this year comprised nine Spitfires. They began in a single formation before breaking into two groups, six of them demonstrating a tailchase whilst the remaining three: SM845; the Grace Spitfire ML407 and Boultbee's RR232 made a series of low, close passes.

Regular it may be, but the Balbo is no less spectacular for that. Just as exciting as the superbly assembled and choreographed mass flypasts is the gathering and take-off from the airfield of such a number and variety of warbirds, each taking their position on the grass or hard runway and each lifting into the sky solo, in pairs or trios. Surely at no other airshow is there such a merger of aural harmony and visual delight.

The Balbo this year comprised 19 aircraft, led by Pete Kynsey in the Bearcat. This is not as many as some years but there was the usual variety with eight Spitfires and a Seafire; three Mustangs; a Wildcat, Bearcat and Corsair; P-40C, Hawk 75, Warhawk and a Buchón. Following the spectacle of the massed take-off, it inevitably takes a while for the aircraft to move into formation. Rather than leave a gap, centre stage is taken by the 'Joker'. The Joker has nothing to do with the character of the same name in the Batman films. The origin is the jester, employed since ancient times to entertain, notably in the royal courts on several continents, especially in a gap before a feast or the delivery of news. At Flying Legends, the Joker fills the interludes whilst the Balbo forms up and between the first pass and its return.

On Saturday Richard Grace filled both slots in the Hawker Fury but on Sunday the Fury shared the role with Comanche Fighter's Mk 1 Spitfire X4650, flown by Nick Grey, who performed Flying Legends 2017 solo finale.

Apart from the carefully choreographed balbo split and breaks for landing, that should have been the end of the show. On Sunday, however, there was an unwelcome extra act when Mustang 'Miss Velma' suffered an engine problem, causing pilot Mark Levy to make an unplanned landing in a wheat field on the other side of the M11. There was some anxiety following the standard advice that car parks would remain closed for the time being to allow emergency services unhindered access to the surrounding roads, but thankfully news soon broke that the Mustang was upright and the pilot out of the aircraft: which was successfully recovered to the IWM Duxford site the following day. Huge credit is due to the team for dealing with the incident so quickly and for keeping the crowds informed.

Flying Legends 2017 promised much and delivered on most of its promises. It would be unfortunate if it were remembered for a few mishaps. Yes, people will recall that this is where Miss Velma was damaged and yes, it will long be lamented that after an arduous but successful transit from the USA, Berlin Express did not get to complete any of its planned public displays. But the successes were more numerous than the mishaps. The rare sighting of Mustangs from the USA; the display of the Horsemen; the debut of Hurricane P2902 and especially, very especially, the formation of five Hurricanes and three Mk 1 Spitfires surrounding the Bristol Blenheim. This may have been the silver anniversary of Flying Legends, but the content was golden.

Aircraft count

44 aircraft
(plus the Red Arrows on Sunday)
5 Hurricanes
12 Seafire / Spitfires
5 Mustangs

ready for the balbo

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 Mk. III, 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 coach services to Cambridge, from where you can catch the show's shuttle service.

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
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.

Expedia lists 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. They also give, and take, Nectar points.

Click this blue Expedia name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into the link, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates and, if necessary, change the number of guests or rooms.

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.

2019 Show Basics

July 13th & 14th

Airshow links

Flying Legends web site


Advance booking only
No tickets on the gate

Under 16s are free

Flightline walk: pay on the day


Sat Nav CB22 4QR

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


Photos taken at Flying Legends Airshows