Flying Legends 2009
Words Mike Freer, photography Mike Freer, Remco Donselaar and Michael van der Mee. Video Jan Loedeman
This year’s eagerly awaited Flying Legends 2009 held over the weekend of July 11th & 12th was hugely successful with people from all over the world attending this classic event organised by the Imperial War Museum in conjunction with The Fighter Collection. On view this year were numerous aircraft types from all over Europe and the USA, including some new to Flying Legends.
The sight of two Focke-Wulf 190s on the flight line caused a moment of excitement for the author as this was a type he thought he would never see fly. More of which later. Added to this was the surprise appearance of a Hawker Fury ISS and a Sea Fury T20, also new to Flying Legends. This year’s show was shaping up to be a classic one and we were not to be disappointed.
There were numerous Spitfires on the flight line including a familiar Spitfire FR Mk XVIII SM845/SE-BIN previously known as G-BUOS from Historic Flying Ltd. The Spitfire is now operated by Biltema, a newcomer from Sweden. The glorious sound of Rolls Royce Merlin and Griffin engines warming up heralded the start of Flying Legends 2009.
There then followed a unique formation display by three P-51D Mustangs flown by ‘The Horseman’ display team; their only performance in the UK. The team was recently formed in the USA and comprises well known warbird operator/pilots Jim Beasley (flight lead), Dan Friedkin (No 2 right wing) and Ed Shipley (No 3 left wing). The Mustangs used were UK based machines: Woodchurch Warbirds' 44-72218; the Old Flying Machines Company operated 44-13704 and the Fighter Collection’s two seat TF-51D 44-84847.
The coughing and spluttering sound of six Wright R-2600 Cyclone radial engines starting up, heralded the start of a unique and, probably, never to be seen display, that of three North American B-25 Mitchell bombers. With squeaking brakes, the aircraft taxied across the grass field and took off to perform a fabulous display. B-25J 44-29507 of the RNLAF Historic Flight was joined at Duxford by 45-8811, recently acquired by the French operator Societe de Developpement et de Promotion de l’Aviation (SDPA). The third aircraft in the flight, B-25D 43-3318/KL161 ‘Grumpy’ will, sadly, soon be heading to the USA. This aircraft has been at Duxford with The Fighter Collection for some time now, but has recently been sold to the Historic Flight Foundation in Washington.