Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Translation: David Niemegeerts   © sbap 2017
 

Every year during the summer, the Duxford Airfield takes dives into the past, to present the famous Flying Legends, which has earned a reputation in the world of aviation enthusiasts. This major event in the world of warbirds is organized jointly by the "Fighter Collection" and the "Imperial War Museum". As every year, the air show was of great quality thanks to the organizers who have really figured out the concept well, thanks to all the technical personnel, and other personnel and people who know exactly what to do to achieve such beautiful results, and thanks to the pilots who perfectly master these historical jewels.
But the show is not limited to presentations in flight, the show is also present on the ground with, amongst others, dozens of people in vintage dress-up, creating the complete atmosphere of the era, much to the delight of photographers and other visitors. It was very possible that one could cross the historical comic duo, Laurel & Hardy, to photograph the warbirds with pilots and mechanics, as real as back in the day, or even to relive the musical atmosphere of the 40's.
This edition was also the occasion thanks to the IWM's media service to meet 94-year-old German Feldwebel Erich Brunotte, who is still passionate about the world of aviation. As for the airshow, it was a festival of Spitfires, Hurricanes, B-17, DC-3 and many others.
But the guest star of this edition was the "Mustang" from North American, two samples of which came all the way from the United States. It is therefore necessary to emphasize the presence of the P-51D "Frenesi" which unfortunately was unable to soar the skies on Saturday due to a technical issue. One of the highlights of the show was the presentation of the "Horsemen" team on P-51D Mustang which made a fantastic presentation of precision flying, in close formation. Thumb up for Dan Friedkin, Steve Hinton and Ed Shipley.

The second Mustang from the States was the magnificent P-51B "Berlin Express". This superb machine actually flew from the country of Uncle Sam to Duxford. Simply fantastic, don't you think?
On Saturday, after the Spitfire ballet that opened the show, it was the turn of the famous "Berlin Express" which started its demonstration by gaining altitude. Once the clearance for the show was granted, the latter dove down to gain speed, and offer photographers a superb pass "on the English way" as we say in the scene. After this, the aircraft recovered some altitude, initiated a circuit and lowered its landing gear, much to the astonishment of the spectators, a technical problem seemed very likely. Looking at the photos (thank you digital pictures) we noticed that in a fraction of a second the canopy of the Mustang had splintered during the acceleration. The shards of the canopy damaged the vertical fin, and one of the horizontal stabilizer, "Berlin Express" could not take part in the show on Sunday anymore. Luckily, more fear than hurt for the pilot, who certainly had a serious scare during the incident. But as we say, the show must go on and one of the second highlights of this weekend was the simultaneous presentation of five Hawker Hurricanes. It was simply fantastic to see so many of these impressive World War II fighter together, especially when we know that there are only eleven machines currently flying, but the Hurricane is becoming a must, and others are in the restoration phase. Let us not forget that during the Battle of Britain, it was the Hurricane who shot down the largest number of enemy planes.
In short, the Flying Legends offered a non-stop show throughout the afternoon and as it should, the finale was the famous "Balbo", where most planes are back into the air for some formation passes. This remains a grandiose moment, which enables us to imagine what great formations of planes left England to go to battle on the occupied continent.
Unfortunately, the Sunday "Balbo", which ended the two days of air show was stained by another incident. Indeed, at the time of the final break, the TF-51D Mustang "Miss Velma" suffered engine problems, and asked for an emergency landing. The plane overflew the terrain in the opposite direction, made a rather sharp turn left, and lined up for the final. But in the end the pilot saw that he probably would not be able to reach the runway safely, and just before the threshold of the runway, you have the M11 motorway, so the pilot preferred to turn to the right to finish his flight in a field. He also had the reflex to bring in the landing gear, which allowed a belly landing in a wheat field, which limited the damage and allowed the pilot to escape unharmed. It is also by situations like this, that one can emphasize the great mastery of all these pilots of warbirds that we mention a little earlier in this article.
But let's not forget that the "Flying Legends" is first and foremost a festival of historical aviation and that once again, the 2017 edition was a good vintage. So don't hesitate to take the road to Duxford and go see one of the three annual airshows, the trip is well worth it, and the British welcome is, for me, always most warm and passionate.
With these few lines, SBAP would like to thank once again the media team of the Imperial War Museum, and Mrs Esther Blaine in particular, for the warm welcome, all facilities and opportunities offered during our visit.

  
 Aerial view of Duxford Airfield during the Flying Legends Airshow
Our flying machine, the DH.89A Dragon Rapide 6 built in 1946 Same aircraft was in use in the Belgian Air Force
 Our pilot in charge The Cambridgeshire from the air
 The AirSpace building The other side with the American and Land Warfare Museum
 The Runway 06 / 24 A view on the Flying Legends flight line
 View on the British Airliners collection Other general view of the site
 The countryside near the airfield In final after a real pleasant experience
 
 At Flying Legends the spectacle is not only in the air...Simply amazing ambiance
 
 
Erich Brunotte was born on June 2nd, 1923. From his early teenage years he turned to the aviation world and passed his A, B and C glider licenses between 1940 and 1941. On June 3rd, 1941, he entered the Luftwaffe to be trained as a fighter pilot. Between October 20th, 1941 and March 31st, 1942, Erich Brunotte was drafted into the reserve. On July 4th, 1942 he joined the 5./A.Flg in Oschatz. Between July 1942 and April 1943, he was assigned I./K.G. 172 Stabsstaffel in Stalingrad. During this period, he would receive various assignments on the eastern front, including the 1./Gruppe Nauhaufklarungs Geschwader 102. In August 1944 he was admitted to the Staffel 13 of the IIV./Jagdgeswader 51 "Molders" which Remains his pride still today, and returned to Germany afterwards. Credited to 33 victories, Erich Brunotte flew his last combat mission on May 3rd, 1945 from Flensburg in northern Germany aboard the Focke Wulf 190 D9 "Weibe 11". His career with the Luftwaffe allowed him to fly on many aircraft such as the Bücker 131 "Jungmann", 133 "Jungmeister" and 181 "Bestman", Klem Kl35, Arado Ar 96, Focke Wulf Fw 56 "Stosser" And 58 "Weihe", Fieseler Fi 156 "Storch" Messerschmitt Bf 108 "Taifun".
Of course, he flew on Messerschmitt Bf 109 type E, T, F, G and K as well as the Focke Wulf Fw 190 type A6, A8, A9 and D9. His career as a fighter pilot ended, of course, with the end of the Second World War. At 94 years old, always young-minded, Erich Brunotte, the enemy of yesterday, has become a friend of today. Proof is the warm handshake between Erich Brunotte and John Romain pictured for posterity.
 
 Me 109 period (E.B. Personnal archives via internet) As Focke Wulf pilot (E.B. Personnal archives via internet)

 Erich Brunotte in 2017, 94 years old... ...and still happy to be at Me 109 command
 Looking the Büchon cockpit with attention His Luftwaffe watch from 1942 is still working! (Courtesy Danny Carels)
 Signing a part of John Romain aircraft John Romain and Erich Brunotte
 The aircraft part signed Erich Brunotte still wears his Luftwaffe Pilot insigna but the swastika is hiden
 Focke Wulf 190 D-9 from last Erich Brunotte mission on May 3rd, 1945
(via internet)
 His logbook  (E.B. Personnal archives via internet) This logbook was open on July 5th, 1942 (E.B. Personnal archives via internet)
 As Luftwaffe conclusion  (E.B. Personnal archives via internet)
 
 Hurry up guy's !
  
Participating Aircraft
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia N3200
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia P7308
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia X2650
(marked R9612 for Dunkirk movie)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb BM597
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb  EP120
Supermarine Spitfire LF IXc MH434
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXe RR232
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX T PV202

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX T ML407 
Supermarine Spitfire FR XIVe  MV268
Supermarine Spitfire FR XVIII SM845
Supermarine Seafire LF IIIc PP972
Hawker Hurricane Mk Ia P9202
Hawker Hurricane Mk Ia P3717
Hawker Hurricane Mk Ia R4118
Hawker Hurricane Mk XIIa 5711
Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk Ib Z7015
North American P-51B-1 "Berlin Express"
North American P-51D (F-6K) "Frenesi"
North American P-51D-20 "Miss Helen"
North American P-51D-25 (GA-S)
North American TF-51D-25 "Miss Velma"
Curtiss Hawk 75
Curtiss P-40C Warhawk
Curtiss P-40F Warhawk
Hispano HA-1112-M1L Buchon
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat
Grummann F8F-2P Bearcat
Douglas C-47A Classic Formation
Douglas C-53D Stiftelsen Dakota Norway
Beechcraft 18 N223CM
Beechcraft 18 N21FS
Goodyear FG-1D Corsair
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Sally B"
Casa 1.131E (Bü 131) Anna Walker
Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Hawker Fury FB.11
Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina
De Havilland DH.88 Comet
Pertcival Type E Mew Gull
Travel Air type R "Mystery Ship
LeVier Cosmic Wind
 
The opening...Spitfire ballet
 
 
 
 
Navy fighters...
 
 
Curtiss...the US constructor
 
 
 
 
North American P-51B Mustang...The unlucky star
 
P-51B Mustang "Berlin Express" (N-515ZB) departed his Texas base on June 28th and arrived at Duxford Airfield on July 4th.
Heritage Flight Alumni Lee Lauderback was the pilot of this amazinbg flight and was following the same route as part of the military troop buildup in the UK during WW II. The called 5,470-mile journey began on June 28th in Texas. 'Berlin Express' is an iconic war plane and a symbol of the US aviation history said Dan Friedkin, chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group, Horsemen Flight Team member and founder of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation. "It's an honor to pilot this aircraft in the Flying Legends Airshow as we pay homage to the brave men and women who have flown in the U.S. Air Force". The route followed by Lauderback and "Berlin Express" departed the Texas base to Paducah (Kentucky), Dunkirk (New York), Bangor (Maine), Goose Bay (Canada), Narsarsuaq (Greenland), Keflavik (Iceland) and Wick (Scotland) before landing at Duxford Airfield.
The restored "Berlin Express" is based around the remains of the P-51B 43-24837.
This Mustang flew with the 9th Air Force's 363rd Fighter Group out of RAF Staplehurst in Kent, England. It crashed in Beckley on June 10th, 1944 after the pilot was forced to bail out during a training exercise. Sporting a "Malcolm Hood" canopy and wearing the markings for "Berlin Express," it is dressed exactly like the 357th Fighter Group Mustang which Overstreet famously flew under the Eiffel Tower in 1944.
William Bruce "Bill" Overstreet Jr. was born on April 10th, 1921 and was an American fighter pilot and a veteran of the 357th Fighter Group, 363rd Fighter Squadron of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. He is best known for his solo pursuit of a German Messerschmitt Bf 109G underneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower in 1944.
Overstreet had followed a Bf109 from the enemy fighter sortie on the US bomber group he was escorting. After most of the German fighters had broken off the attack, Overstreet and the German had begun a running dogfight, but as they neared Paris, the Messerschmitt now had Overstreet and his Mustang on his tail.
The Bf109 pilot flew over Paris hoping that the heavy German triple A batteries surrounding the city would solve his problem and eliminate Overstreet and his "Berlin Express". Overstreet managed to get some hits in at about 1500 feet. The German's engine was hit and damaged, but Overstreet stayed on his tail braving the intense enemy ground fire.
The German pilot's desperation undoubtedly growing, he aimed his plane at the Eiffel Tower and in a surprising maneuver, flew beneath it. Undeterred, Overstreet followed right behind him, scoring several more hits in the process. The German plane crashed and Overstreet escaped the heavy flak around Paris by flying low and full throttle down the Seine until he had cleared the heavily defended city's anti-aircraft batteries.
This amazing scene of Overstreet chasing and downing the enemy plane gave immense inspiration to the French citizens and the Resistance. He was awarded the France's highest military award, "Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur" by the French Ambassador to the United States Pierre Vimont at a ceremony held at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.on June 6th, 2009. William Bruce "Bill" Overstreet Jr. passed away on December 29th, 2013, he was 92 years old.
 
 The aircraft went in flight from the US to Duxford...simply fantastic Saturday demonstration: 14:05:30 First high speed pass
 14:05:32 with the canopy 14:05:36 no more canopy, this one exploded
 Landing back as soon as possible after the incident The glass impacts on the vertical fin and the horizontal stabilizer
 The "Horsemen" in action
 
 
 
 
 
 
 North American P-51D Mustang "Frenesi"...The Second Star
 v

North American P-51D Mustang "Frenesi" (N-357FG)
Technically, the restored "Frenesi" was an F-6K and was sold surplus immediately following WWII, registered as NX66111, the aircraft was entered into the 1946 Cleveland Air Races as racer No.80 "Full House", but its engine failed and the flight ended I a crash landing. The aircraft was sold to Jack Hardwick in the early 1950?s and rebuilt, with a jump seat and rudimentary dual controls installed in the back of the cockpit, and was sold onto the Dominican Air Force in 1954, becoming FAD 1900. The aircraft served with the Dominican AF until it was sold and imported back into the US in 1984. The aircraft flew again on the US register as N21023 by 1990, and was sold to Jim Beasley Sr. and later owned/operated by Jim Beasley Jr. During this time the aircraft was painted as "Frenesi", the personal mount of WWII 357th Fighter Group ace Gen. Tommy Hayes (the name inspired from a 1940 Artie Shaw tune). A complete rebuild of the airframe began. By 2009, the project was sold to Dan Friedkin, now registered as N357FG, and the restoration was continued at Midwest Aero Restorations, known for their award-winning authentic Mustang rebuilds. The aircraft has now emerged in early 2017, resplendent and flying again in the markings of "Frenesi".
P-51D-5-NA #44-13318 "Frenesi" was flown by Lt. Col. Thomas L. Hayes, Jr. Hayes got his pilot's wings in February 1941 and flew P-40s with the 17th Pursuit Squadron. He was shot down and wounded in February 1942. After recovering from his wounds, he was assigned to the 35th Fighter Group, flying P-39s and P-40s. While in this unit, he was credited with two Japanese aircraft destroyed on the ground. He later joined the 357th Fighter Group and took command of the 364th Fighter Squadron in May 1943. He was also appointed Deputy Commander of the 357th Fighter Group in March 1944. By the time he returned to the US in August 1944, he was credited with 8.5 aerial victories and 2 ground victories.

 
 Flying Fortress over Germany
 
Swiss Classic Wings
 
Anna Walker aerobatics
 
Desert air war
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Achtung...Spitfire's
 
 
 
 Battle of Britain tribute
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Air Races
 
 
 
Scandinavian Dakota
 
 
Air and Sea...
 
 
 
The great Balbo...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 A last look into the hangar...may be for the next Flying Legends Time to cross the chanel back after a wonderful airshow
 

  Reports Menu - Homepage