Further continuing a catch-up of the year’s airshows, this selection from the Sunday of Flying Legends illustrates the far from ideal weather of the day. The show wasn’t a classic, but few will forget the various Spitfire and Mustang sequences.
This event held in the fields surrounding the small Damyns Hall airstrip near Upminster, Essex, showcases various periods of military history from the earliest days until the very recent and includes battle scenarios, re-enactors, static set-pieces and air displays – the latter taking an increasingly large part in the day’s entertainment. Of the displays illustrated undoubted highlight was Dan Griffith in the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Spitfire XVI, which thankfully coincided with the best weather of the day.
Organised by the Essex branch of the Military Vehicle Trust this event is primarily a chance for owners of tanks, armoured vehicles and re-enactment groups to showcase their equipment – and to make a lot of noise during firepower displays.
Spread over the fields adjacent to Damyns Hall Aerodrome the event also includes other vintage and retro themes, a pleasingly large number of local and military charity outlets, musical entertainment and a three hour flying display.
Polka Dot Dolls:
Making its return to display flying and sporting new details to its Vietnam era colour scheme the North Weald based Bell UH-1 ‘Huey’ impressed with an aggressive low-level routine.
Spitfire IX TA805 ‘Spirit of Kent’ from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar appeared minus its familiar black and white invasion stripes which have been removed for film work. It was flown by Clive Denney who had returned having earlier displayed BHHH’s Harvard.
Peter Teichman displayed the Hangar 11 ‘Hurribomber’ whilst B-17 Sally B also appeared, adding to an impressive warbird line-up.
Lighter aircraft made up the rest of the show, from trainers of various ages, through communications aircraft to wingwalking.
Damyns Hall is located near Upminster, Essex, inside the M25, and has scheduled its 2014 event for 1, 2 and 3 August. Well worth looking out for.
After the incidents and loss of Big Beautiful Doll in 2011, last year’s Flying Legends was a somewhat quieter year. The 2013 event returned more to the heights of old, though tempered with the news that this would be Stephen Grey’s last appearance at the controls of one of his aircraft at what is The Fighter Collection’s own show – and world renowned for its unique format and content. Although we didn’t know it at the time it would also turn out to be the last chance for most people to see P-47 Thunderbolt ‘SNAFU’ in the air before her surprise return to the USA.
Instead of playing the part of the ‘joker’ before the Balbo finale, Stephen Grey opened the show in his Bearcat to the haunting Pink Floyd classic ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ – apparently a favourite track of the 75 year old TFC boss, and well suited to the powerful yet graceful demonstration. We can only guess at what the future holds for the TFC and Flying Legends, but hopefully son Nick will take the reigns.
The show continued with The Bremont Horsemen flying close formation routines in two Mk I Spitfires and a V, in their style which doesn’t compare with the more dynamic displays that we are familiar with – but is still very easy on the eye as a show of grace rather than power.
Further illustrations of the day’s displays:
Flying Legends in 2014 is scheduled to take place on the 12 and 13 July, and it will be interesting to see how the show shapes up.