Flying Legends to move ?

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Benevolens Magister
Aug 24, 2008
Cheshire, UK
Karl has just informed me of an announcement on the Flying Legends Facebook page, so I had a look.
Sad to hear that FL 2019 was the last at Duxford !!!
It seems that The Fighter Collection are looking for a new venue for this important, prestigious, international event, although the collection, and operation are, apparently, remaining at DX.
In trying to avoid speculation, it's hard to avoid thinking of costs - ticket prices for all events at DX have almost doubled over the past year or so, and personally, I found the changes in the organisation of car parking, particularly for disabled visitors to airshows, somewhat disappointing and semi-chaotic, compared to that enjoyed over the previous decades, not the fault of TFC, being the domain of the IWM, so perhaps this is a factor in the decision to re-locate the event
I can't think of many suitable venues, in the right locations, that could accommodate this large show, with visitors from all the over the World attending every year, when transport, access and site support facilities will need to be good and well organised and efficient. Perhaps North Weald or Cranfield ?
Military bases are probably not an option, but wherever it may end up, I hope the show is back in 2021, although it'll be a real shame it's not at DX, and I also wonder how the financial aspect will impact on IWM.
DX normally has attendance in excess of 55,000.
The original warbird show was at West Malling, in the late 1970's early 80's (now closed and developed), then at North Weald, a few miles south of DX and fairly close to Stanstead. The show we now know as FL moved to the TFC base at DX in the late 1980's, and has grown and developed ever since.
Cranfield is near Bedford, and quite large, and is the aeronautical college of the university, among other things. The large, week long PFA Rally used to be held there, but transport, infrastructure and hotel availability etc are not the best, compared to the Cambridge area.
The only other places i can think of, one military, are Fairford and Farnborough, both with some limitations, and neither as centrally located, with ease of access from London and international travel hubs, in relatively open country, and with facilities for large numbers of overnight visitors.
Going to be an interesting time, waiting to see what eventually happens .
I've just listened to a recording of an interview with Nick Gray, on BBC Radio Cambs, found on the FL Facebook page.
Nick has stated that, although they are still looking for a suitable venue, the team would like it to be in the Cambridge area. Not sure where it could be, although Cambridge has a civil airport, not the best type of operation, but possibly useable for a weekend ( ? ). There's also the former WW2 field at Bourne, just west and slightly north of Cambridge city. Although it doesn't have any facilities as such, it's not impossible (although complex) to be able to organise what's required, and it's still within the area for transport links, hotels etc etc.
There is also the mall airfield near Bourn, at Little Gransden, which hosts its own annual airshow. A small location, but with a joint venture,and some expansion to handle crowds, a slim possibility.
Note that these "suggestions" are just my speculation, and have NOT been suggested by TFC, but whatever the eventual outcome, I really hope that the show can continue in the Cambridge area.
Yes, I agree, and I too hope it doesn't come to that.
To retain the prestige of "Legends", I think an airfield, active or not, would be the aim of TFC, in order to have visiting aircraft, and their own collection, on the ground - all part of the international attraction of "Legends".
It would initially be a big, fairly complex job, equipping such a venue for a weekend, but not beyond the realms of possibilities, and a field with intact, usable hard runways, as well as grass runways, would be more desirable, Bourn, for example.
Alternatively, an active, civil airport, with relatively low commercial movements on a weekend, such as Cambridge, or the second Cambridge field, operated by Marshalls, could be a possibility. Not the best choice, but airshows have been staged at such venues before (eg Teesside), and it could work.
My local Aero Club used to host an annual show, which was very successful, and in the "top league" for priority of acts, and that was just a small, grass aerodrome, but attracting a crowd almost as large as DX, and with prestigious "acts" from all over Europe, including the BBMF and the Red Arrows, plus those aircraft which were able to operate from the shortest grass runway used for the show (due to the requirements of the crowd line orientation), which included a Spitfire XIV.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see, and hope that a suitable location is found, hopefully in time for next year's show.
Now, now old chap, don't get excited. Teesside is nowhere near Cambridge ( it's nowhere near anywhere !), and I am not moving my caravan up north, having just sited the b**dy thing at Scole !!
I'll be interested to see how they manage all the vehicles in and out of that site. It was bad enough at Duxford, a few hundred yards from the M11, though they used to encourage/force you to go 'cross country' on the way in. Now they will have vehicles trying to get to the M1 (back towards London or to get to the M45 and M6) or over to the M40, both the other side of Northampton.

There don't look to be many parking options at Sywell either, but I've only looked at Google Earth and have never been there.

I do agree that the IWM at Duxford was an added attraction. A lot of visitors, particularly international visitors, seemed to make a long day of any of the Duxford shows, taking in the museum before the flying started.
Sywell used to host the PFA Rally, up to about 1980, with hundreds of aircraft arriving for the weekend, and large numbers of cars etc too.
Access and exit at Duxford has been generally fine over the last few years, compared to some venues, but I agree, it may be a bit more challenging at Sywell.

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