For this weeks look at Flying Legends history I decided to look at the regular pre-WW2 sequences that are included in the flying list. Over the years there have been all manner of rare and wonderful machines included in this segment.
‘Legends has built its brand on WW2 fighters and bombers but those graceful interwar machines have always played a key part in the shows appeal.
For most of the 2000s and part of the 2010s Hawker Biplanes of some kind or another have been a part of the flying display. The Fighter Collection’ (then the Historic Aircraft Collection’s) Hawker Nimrod was the first Legends regular, before being joined by the Nimrod II some years later and eventually the Historic Aircraft Collection’s Fury in 2015.
The Duxford based Hawkers have been joined on occasion by the Demon and Hind from Old Warden, with 2011 being the high point including four Hawker biplanes flying together.
After many years of waiting, the Fighter Collection were able to add another interwar machine to their airworthy fleet in 2013 with the debut of their Gloster Gladiator. The Gladiator had flown in 2008 and performed test flights in the mornings of Legends that year but 2013 was its airshow debut. The Gladiator made a great impression starring in the hands of Nick Grey as the Joker for the 2013 and many subsequent shows until engine problems led to its grounding in 2017. On numerous occasions the Duxford based Gladiator was also joined by the Old Warden based example.
Its not just military inter war machines that have played a role in the Legends line up of course. Many DC-3s have flown as part of the show in civilian trim along with a number of Beech Staggerwings.
Perhaps the interwar high point of recent years though was the wonderful trio of interwar racers at the 2017 event. This saw the Shuttleworth Collection’s DH88 Comet and Percival Mew Gull flying alongside the wonderful Travelair Mystery Ship replica (and the post war Levier Cosmic Wind). There is nothing quite like the grace of interwar racing types and this routine provided a great contrast to the military aircraft also on display.
Though already featured in the US visitors post a few weeks back, a truly special interwar participant has to have been Planes Of Fame’s Boeing P-26 Peashooter (pictured below at Chino in October 2019).
Though a smaller part of the Legends story, those interwar types make for a great addition to tell the story of the golden age of aviation.