|Close call at superb Flying Legends show|
|Written by David Siddall|
|Tuesday, 26 July 2011 09:09|
The annual Flying Legends show at Duxford on July 9–10 featured several hitherto unseen formations, an increase in crowd numbers over last year, and a miraculous escape for pilots Rob Davies and Pierre Farges after a mid-air collision at the end of the second day of the show.
Among the highlights of the event, organised by The Fighter Collection (TFC) in partnership with the Imperial War Museum Duxford, was a formation of four 1930s Hawker biplanes, comprising Demon Displays’ Hawker Demon, the Shuttleworth Collection’s Hawker Hind, a Nimrod I from TFC and a Nimrod II from the Historic Aircraft Collection. It was the first time such a sight has been seen since the glory days of the 1930s RAF pageants. Another formation which could never have been seen before featured four fighters from the Curtiss stable. Curtiss P-40F VH-PIV of TFC, which had arrived from Australia in a container in late June, made its debut alongside TFC’s Curtiss Hawk 75 G-CCVH and P-40B Warhawk G-CDWH, and Christian Amara’s La Ferté-Alais-based P-40N, F-AZKU.
For the first time since the filming of Memphis Belle at Duxford in July 1989, a trio of Hispano Buchóns flew together, D-FMVS from the Air Fighter Academy at Heringsdorf, Germany, Duxford-based G-AWHE from Spitfire Ltd and the Aircraft Restoration Company’s G-BWUE bringing to mind the famous strafing sequence from the Battle of Britain film.
The accident happened after a run and break following the Balbo at the close of the show on Sunday. The starboard wing of the Salis Collection’s La Ferté-Alais-based Douglas AD-4 Skyraider, F-AZDP, hit the underside of the rear fuselage of North American P-51D D-FBBD Big Beautiful Doll. The Mustang pilot, Rob Davies, who had owned the machine for 15 years and was flying it on behalf of its new owners, The Air Fighter Academy at Heringsdorf, later said; “There was an extremely loud impact, and the Mustang was violently thrown on to its side. I jettisoned the canopy, initially looking for a spot to make a forced landing, but, with no pitch control, made the decision to jump at about 500ft. I hit the tailplane, fortunately only sustaining some bruises. The parachute opened at about 200ft, but it was still a pretty high rate of decent. I landed close to the wreckage of the Mustang, but, fortunately, there was no fire.”This is just a taster — see September’s Aeroplane magazine for the full story and more pictures.