A more recent tradition at Flying Legends has been the inclusion of the impressive fleet of warbirds operated by Red Bull known as The Flying Bulls. Up until 2011 these collection of beautifully maintained warbirds had not ventured across the channel.
2011 saw the Flying Bulls ‘Legends collection start, with their P-38 Lightning.
For many, myself included, this would have been the first chance to see a P-38 in the air and a welcome sight after the disappointment of Glacier Girl not completing the Atlantic crossing four years earlier. The P-38 always sounds fantastic and it was put through a graceful aerobatic display, including, as I recall, a landing configuration pass, always rare for a warbird.
2012 saw the Lightning return again (I happened to be at Duxford a week or two prior to see the aircraft arrive following some time stuck in North Scotland having transited from Norway), this time joined by another of the Flying Bulls fleet, their F4U Corsair. Raimund Riedmann flew the Lightning again, joined by ‘Legends regular Eric Goujon in the Corsair. This was the first Duxford appearance for this wonderfully impressive close formation aerobatic display. Both fighters are fitted with smoke systems that though not to everyones tastes really highlight the graceful lines of this display.
2013 saw the Lightning unable to attend, so the Corsair flew as a solo act, though was joined after the show on Sunday by the Flying Bulls B-25 Mithcell, finished in a similar polished style to the Lightning. Though only positioning to join the Corsair at Fairford the following week, it was a notable addition to the Duxford appearances for the collection.
2014s show was slightly dampened by poor weather both in the UK and on the continent the week leading up to the show. This meant that though 2014 would see the debut of the B-25 in the flying program, it was the only of the fleet to make it (being able to fly IFR).
2015 saw the B-25 return, this time with the P-38, with the latter performing a wonderful solo display on the Sunday immediately following a thunderstorm with spectacular cloudscapes in the background.
After a few years mixing and matching between the three airframes, the Flying Bulls were able to perform as a three ship with the B-25, Corsair and P-38 all performing together. This again saw the pairs routine delivered in fine style from the Lightning and Corsair.
2017 saw a Red Bull sponsored racing event clash with Flying Legends which meant that none of the fleet were available to attend, which was a real shame. They would make up for it the following year however.
2018 saw the Flying Bulls mount their most impressive UK visit with both fixed wing and rotary types performing at various shows around the country. While the wonderful Bristol Sycamore helicopter doesn’t quite fit in with the Legends theme, it certainly made a great impression elsewhere that year.
Legends were originally billed to enjoy the P-38, Corsair, B-25, and a pair of Alpha Jets. The Alpha Jets perform an aerobatic routine alongside the P-38 and Corsair. However, the restrictions on aerobatics with swept winged jets meant this was unable to happen. Happily the jets were replaced with the far rarer and beautiful Douglas DC-6.
With so many machines in the flying display this gave the Flying Bulls an extended slot in the afternoons flying. A few passes in formation gave way to a DC-6 solo display, that was very dynamic for such a large aircraft. The usual B-25 display was also then followed by the now traditional pairs performance from the fighters.
2019 was another year of clashing for the Flying Bulls so no aircraft performed. However, the group were due to be part of the 2020 event and hopefully we will see them return and continue this relatively new ‘Legends tradition into the future.