Airshow Moments 2016 – Duxford’s Glorious Gladiator

Since the Fighter Collection’s Gloster Gladiator made its public display debut at Flying Legends in 2013 Nick Grey has quickly built a great reputation for his energetic routines in the Gloster biplane.

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2013 saw Nick take over the traditional Legends “joker” slot from his father and it was a great move to contrast Stephen Grey’s powerful Bearcat routines with the grace of a pre-war biplane performing aerobatics over Duxford.

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In the years since 2013 each Legends has seen the Gladiator on “joker” duty and we have also seen this trademark routine form part of the main Legends dispaly too, notably this year an aerobatic tailchase with a pair of Hispano Buchons.

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The Saturday of the this years September show at Duxford saw pretty unpleasent weather with showers and a low cloud base for much of the day. Conditions just about held for some flying to take place and one act was the Gladiator. One of the advantages of this little fighter is it can carry out a full aerobatic display with a lower cloud base than its monoplane cousins.

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It was a spectacular and welcome surprise as the Gladiator ran in for its display witha  trademark low level topside and graceful loop, that Nick Grey was at the controls, not something seen outside of Legends until this point. The routine that followed was easily the best Gladiator routine I have seen, flowing loops graceful rolls and some stunning low level passes combined with the gloomy conditions made for a real airshow moment.

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While the rest of the days flying may have been heavily curtailled I’d challenge anyone to say it wasn’t worth the effort for those incredible few minutes of flying. The Sunday of the show saw a repeat performance alongside a trio of Hawker Biplanes, which formed another special moment.

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