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Flying Legends Airshow - July 15th/16th
Report by Tim Benton, Pictures by Andy Hart

After 30 years at it's original home of Duxford, the Flying Legends folks have decamped and come North to Leeds East Airport, although I am sure it will always be Church Fenton to you and me. The home of 71 Squadron, the first of the US Eagle squadrons that came across to fight in WW2.

Mother nature seemed determined to scupper the weekends activities, she managed to turn on the taps big time on the Friday late afternoon /evening. At one stage there was a genuine question as to whether the weekend would even go ahead. The waterproof qualities of good old fashioned ex military canvas shone through and turned every drop. We drifted into sleep to the wonderful sound of the patter of raindrops on the outside.

Saturday dawned with bright skies and sunshine, quick check on the Met office App showed it was a false dawn. First half of the day, the flight line is open to the public. It's a chance for everyone to get up close ( no touching ) with a terrific line up of WW2 fighters and medium bombers. All of which have flown in specially. The local ATC supplied hundreds of cadets to assist us in flightline jobs, they were all a credit to their uniform. Interestingly the cadets' instructors knew Jim Waterhouse through his Cadet career and were forthcoming with some great embarrassing tidbits, see me for further details.

The afternoon's flying was opened by the glorious sound of Merlins flat out overhead and interspersed between lightning storms, the flying displays continued. Spitfires of every mark, Hurricanes, Mustangs, Me109s, B-25, P-38, 4 different Curtis's, Corsair, Bearcat, Sea Fury; too many to list but numbers topped 40. Where else can you see a Spit and Mustang chasing a Me109?
( OK I know it's a Spanish built jobbie ). Some fantastic flying kept everyone thrilled despite the weather doing it's worst. #Biblicalproportions.


Sunday dawned with cheery skies and a promise of good flying . We were not disappointed. An aerial display with a P-38 and B-25 together was awesome . To see a medium bomber thrown about at low level like a fighter was impressive to say the least. Throughout the weekend there hardly seemed to be a spell, where there was not at least one aircraft in the sky above.

Finale to the weekend puts as many aircraft into the air as possible , producing an impressive raft of mechanical marvels , piloted by some of the world's best. Known as the Balbo, it was named after an Italian flying ace, who was unfortunately shot down by his own anti aircraft fire ( there's probably a joke in there somewhere ).
They land individually, as they circle round to do so, the "Joker", in the form of a Spitfire, whizzes in and out of the pack and beats up the runway. Impressive stuff.
All in all, a fantastic weekend that is a must to go on the calendar for next year. It's on the doorstep too.