Duxford "Flying Legends" Airshow 2002

The Duxford airfield near Cambridge in England hosts several airshows each year.   The Flying Legends show features historic aircraft from before world war two through to the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The airshow includes several aircraft from the period just before, and just into, world war two.   On the British side there are the Hawker Nimrod and Gloster Gladiator biplanes, the former a naval fighter and the latter both a land-based and naval fighter.   For the Germans, displays were put on by a Buecker Juengmeister aerobatic plane in nazi markings, a Messerschmitt Me 108 Taifun, and a Ju 52 transport plane.

The Supermarine Spitfire is to British airshows what the P-51 Mustang is to American airshows.   These are the fighters which captured people's imaginations during the war, and have now become classics.   Duxford is the very airfield in the UK where Spitfires first entered service with the RAF in 1938, so it was very appropriate to have a large contingent of them at this show.   There were eight Spitfires flying at Flying Legends 2002, in a bewildering assortment of models and paint schemes.   For an overview showing all eight planes in action, try the Spitfire highlights page.

The Flying Legends airshow also has a good selection of American aircraft, including eight different P-51D Mustang fighters, a couple of P-40 Tomahawks and a P-47 Thunderbolt.   There were also two B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, a couple of B-25 Mitchells and an A-26 Invader. 

There was a very complete set of Grumman "cats" from world war two and slightly after - an F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat and two F8F Bearcats.   The Tigercat was very unfamiliar to me, and along with the Lancaster and the Blenheim was probably the highlight of the show as far as I was concerned - even though the A-36 Apache dive bomber was meant to be the star of the show, as the organizers and announcers kept telling us!   I was very pleased to see the Hellcat as well, it's not a particularly spectacular plane in itself, but I've never seen one at any other airshow, and it's a very important plane from a historical perspective.