Displays | Flying Legends, Duxford, 13th July 2002

 

Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat (F-AZEJ) - Click for Full Image

North American A-36A Apache (44-83731/N251A) at the Flying Legends 2002 Air Display at Duxford - Click for Full Image  Vought FG-1D Corsair (92399/G-CCMV) - Click for Full Image
 

Unlike the Jubilee Air Show, the delightful weather across the UK extended to Duxford and provided superb conditions for an absolutely memorable display. The sight of the flightline aircraft on arrival literally took your breath away. I have never seen so many Spitfires or Mustangs lined up - and it is that much more special when they are all airworthy. The eight Spitfires consisted of five merlin engined examples and three with griffin engines and the seven Mustangs were equally impressive.

Not quite a Mustang but very close was the A36 Apache/Invader which had been specially brought over from the United States for Flying Legends, similar to a P51A 'razor-back' Mustang with dive-brakes this is the only airworthy example in the world from the 500 that were originally built. It was the rarity of the show! Alongside the Mustangs were a classic array of Grumman aircraft: Wildcat, Hellcat, two Bearcats and a Tigercat - a set of classics and all in beautiful livery.

Further along the amazing line of aircraft was the sight of five Corsairs - three based at Duxford and two that had come over from France. Not far away were three Skyraiders - two from France and one based at Duxford, these are big aircraft! Other notable aircraft on the flightline were the Fighter Collection's Thunderbolt, a Douglas A-26 Invader operated by the Scandinavian Historic Flight, a North American B25-J Mitchell operated by the Fighter Collection and the French-based Boeing B17-G 'Pink Lady' which joined Duxford's B17-G 'Sally B'.

The fine weather conditions remained all day - the sight of the eight Spitfires starting up as the beginning of the display approached was a sight that brought a lump to my throat - the sound was fantastic. The Spitfires divided into a group of five (the Merlins) and a group of three (the Griffins) and the display they put on was just great.

One of the marvellous things about Duxford displays is that there are virtually no breaks between aircraft - while one group is displaying the next take-off. For the spectator this keeps the excitement going.

Particular mention must go to the four Corsairs that flew together - along with the opening Spitfires this was my favourite part. But with the Grumman Cats, Mitchell, Thunderbolt B17s and Skyraiders there was an abundance of riches - and the Lancaster from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight arrived for good measure.

This was a great day!! 

 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk8c (MV154/G-BKMI) - Click for Full Image Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider (F-AZDQ) - Click for Full Image Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 'Pink Lady' (44-8846/F-AZDX) - Click for Full Image
 

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