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RIP Flying Legends


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Manston is to reopen in spring 23 as a dedicated freight hub with limited passenger flights to follow. The DoT has a contract for parking trucks on the runway that expires at the end of December. After that Riveroak will take control and begin re leveling the runway and preparing the rest of the airfield for a new future. I will not be likely that airshows will return to Manston.Anoth

 

Keith

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Damn, Flying Legends was on my Bucket List! Maybe a trip to the US to one of their big Warbird Shows will have to take it's place?

 

Duncan B

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8 minutes ago, Duncan B said:

Damn, Flying Legends was on my Bucket List! Maybe a trip to the US to one of their big Warbird Shows will have to take it's place?

 

Duncan B

You have to choose US shows carefully - some of them seem to feature a lot of aeroplanes flying flat ovals as the airshow. Fine if you like that sort of thing, but I prefer vertical penetration and the occassional vortices off the wingtips in my airshows, which knowing the sorts of cars I prefer probably doesn't come as a huge surprise to you!

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57 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

I prefer vertical penetration

 

We'd always thought as much... :tease:

 

Seriously, looking at the statement on Flightline UK, it rather suggests that IWM wanted a bigger cut from TFC for Legends, and TFC have basically told them to take a running jump.

 

There are not as many alternatives for a replacement venue as we would like. I'm not sure about North Weald as events were brought to an end there due to ATC conflicts with Stansted. Perhaps a smaller event could be held at Shuttleworth, as Old Warden is only down the road from Duxford. A little further afield, and Biggin Hill, Sywell, Kemble or East Kirkby are possible. Of course, I would suggest Newquay as I live in Cornwall, but that wouldn't be much good for everybody else.

 

What could scupper it is IWM have already said they will look to run a replacement event themselves on the same weekend. TFC may have to look at a different date to avoid a clash, and if so will they take part in the alternative event or leave their aircraft cooped up in the hangar.

 

In the long term it also raises the question of whether TFC continue to see Duxford as a permanent home. They rent the hangar from IWM, and my understanding from what I have seen written elsewhere is that they pay a low rent on the basis that they organise and run Legends, paying a fee to IWM for the privilege. Presumably they will now have their rent increased. If they should decide to relocate that would be a huge seismic shift in the warbird community, and might even see other operators pulling out of Duxford. Who knows?

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I was going to write a longer reply, but this post from over on the WIX forum sums things up for me perfectly. Knowing a few people at IWM Duxford, it all rings very true. 

 

Quote:

 

"The IWM statement indicated they are under financial pressures, and the reading-between-the-lines in conjunction with the TFC statement would be, that IWM have gone to TFC demanding a bigger slice of the pie from TFC, and TFC have said Foxtrot Oscar.

It also hasn't helped that the IWM are now staffed by pretty young things with degrees in media studies and business accounting and have zero interest in the airshow side of Duxford or even just having visitors on the site at all given the number of restrictions and concessions (to the disabled for instance) that have been removed in recent years.
The feeling from those closer to the people there, is that IWM staff would rather do away with the air displays completely, and the fact that IWM were active in offering part of the site to military aerospace contractor Marshalls of Cambridge as their new site, which would have stopped displays because of overfly restrictions, tell you all you need to know about the future of the place going forward. In the end Marshalls said Duxford wasn't going to be their new home, but, that doesn't take away the fact that had they gone there that would have been the end of display flying there anyway.

I can't see Flying Legends becoming a seaside show at all......don't think that's an option.

My view, I think there's more chance TFC will take the show to mainland Europe than it has of remaining in the UK.

I wonder if TFC will start to look at whether Duxford is the place to remain as a base going forward, maybe the others like ARCo etc as well in time, if IWM start to make it less and less attractive to remain there."

 

I agree with all of the above. If we're looking for a new venue for Flying Legends, then I believe that realistically, we should be looking at mainland Europe not the UK. After all, we should remember where the roots of TFC lie, and it wasn't here. Overall, I'm not very optimistic about the future of air displays in the UK in general. I think we've had our golden years. 

 

Steve 

 

Edit: @Truro Model Builder Think we posted at the same time, but I also agree with the notion that TFC will move their operations away from Duxford. Possibly that will end up back in Europe again too.

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24 minutes ago, fightersweep said:

 

I agree with all of the above. If we're looking for a new venue for Flying Legends, then I believe that realistically, we should be looking at mainland Europe not the UK. After all, we should remember where the roots of TFC lie, and it wasn't here. Overall, I'm not very optimistic about the future of air displays in the UK in general. I think we've had our golden years. 

 

Steve 

 

Edit: @Truro Model Builder Think we posted at the same time, but I also agree with the notion that TFC will move their operations away from Duxford. Possibly that will end up back in Europe again too.

Sad news.  But with Brexit, how will that affect  and enthusiasts travelling much further afield to Europe if thats where the Legends show will be?? The cost of getting across the Channel is bad enough  and with controls entering Europe will not be as easy as we knew pre Brexit days. North Weald sounds a good option if it were ever to happen. Biggin has a lot of exec air traffic that sometimes intermingles with any show that is put on there.

 

But I too feel  that airshows as we knew them are fast diminishing  and past ones like Greenham, Mildenhall and the AIr Fairs at Biggin to name but a few remain fond memories.  

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The more I think about it I would not be at all surprised to see Legends move to a European site, and possibly TFC as well if it looks the right choice.

 

And let's not forget IWM's 168-room hotel plans for Duxford.

Edited by Truro Model Builder
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1 minute ago, Paul J said:

Sad news.  But with Brexit,how will that affect  and enthusiasts travelling much further afield to Europe if thats where the Legends show will be?? North weald sounds a good option if it were ever to happen. Biggin has a lot of exec air traffic that sometimes intermingles with any show that is put on there.

 

But I too feel  that airshows as we knew them are fast diminishing  and past ones like Greenham, Mildenhall and the AIr Fiars at Biggin to name but a few remain fond memories.  

To be honest, a lot of people travel from Europe for Legends. It's an international event. It might just mean that we'll have to be the ones travelling a bit further afield.

 

Like you, I particularly miss the 80s. So much choice, it was difficult which show to attend on any given weekend.

 

Steve

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45 minutes ago, fightersweep said:

t also hasn't helped that the IWM are now staffed by pretty young things with degrees in media studies and business accounting and have zero interest in the airshow side of Duxford or even just having visitors on the site

This quote from WIX, and the through behind it,  seems to have gained some currency on a number of web sites.

 

This is an huge simplification of a rather complicated situation.

 

The IWM is an exempt charity set up by the government and has the aims to advance the education of the public in the nature, perception, history and impact of modern war and peoples’ experience of war; and · the arts, culture, and heritage related to war and war-time experience.

 

To support it's work, like may charities, the IWM has a business arm - IWM Business Trading Company Ltd, which actually runs the air shows. Airshows are not core to the aims of the business and are only there to provide a profit and support the charity. By the way the total income passed from the trading company to the IWM in 2018  was £4.25m so I think some of the sums suggested for the profits from airshows have been over estimated.

 

Added to this  like many national museums the IWM has lost most of it's income in 2020, and is probably looking towards very reduced income in 2021. It has also lost a significant sum of "grant in kind" from the government over the last decade.

 

I have met with many of the curatorial staff at Duxford over the years and they are professional museum staff who have seem to care for the core aims of the museum. They certainly want to see visitors on the site and improving interpretation such as  the new BoB interpretation.

 

Apart from the last sentence all the information in this post has been taken from publicly available documents.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Truro Model Builder said:

The more I think about it I would not be at all surprised to see Legends move to a European site, and possibly TFC as well if it looks the right choice.

 

And let's not forget IWM's 168-room hotel plans for Duxford.

 

I'm with you on that. The more I think about it, the more I can see a move to Europe. I'm really struggling to think of a suitable UK venue. I was involved once with a long standing warbird collector. Many moons ago, we received a brief to try and find a suitable UK airfield of WW2 vintage with preferably enough remaining original infrastructure that could be purchased. The plan was for a living WW2 airfield that could house a collection, museum and hold displays regularly (including military events). The requirement was that the site would be as authentically WW2 as possible. It didn't happen. Such a shame as something like that would have been amazing, and potentially useful at the moment with TFCs situation. The problem I hear about IWM at the moment, is the lack of anyone with the basic subject passion at the top, which used to be the case once upon a time.

 

@Paul821 I do appreciate that the reasons are varied and complex, and at the end of the day, IWM need money coming in to survive. I have to confess that my impressions are coloured by knowing people that work there and some of the views that have been expressed to me, but I recognise there are more issues at play here. Thank you for the balanced post. It's important to take in all the facts here.

 

Steve

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I have no knowledge of the aviation infrastructure there, but could Goodwood be a potential venue with (if necessary) some of the aircraft 'based' at local airfields and coming together for a flying display?

The team there have a wealth of experience of putting together some fantastic events, including an increasing amount of aviation linked to the Revival. Plus Goodwood circuit is based on the old perimeter track at Westhampnett.

 

Edge

 

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I have no doubt that the staff at Duxford have their hearts in the right place, but I don't think I'm alone in my views towards the leadership. Apparently, a freedom of information request shows that when they did away with the Friends of Duxford and transferred that to Friends of the IWM, of the 5,500 or so FoD members, less than 900 transferred. That went well, then.

 

I honestly don't think that management at Duxford truly understand its uniqueness and I certainly don't think they give a damn about aviation. Luckily, there are still operating airfields that do.......

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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14 minutes ago, lasermonkey said:

when they did away with the Friends of Duxford and transferred that to Friends of the IWM, of the 5,500 or so FoD members, less than 900 transferred.

Not really that surprising - I'm sure that many of those 5,500 signed up in the 'heat of the moment' during a Duxford airshow. On cooler reflection without the sound of Merlins ringing in the ears people will be less keen to part with their money.

 

I guess the bean counters know exactly what an airshow costs to put on and how much revenue it generates - and I'm sure, particularly with the increases in insurance costs - it is an increasingly expensive proposition. Unfortunately, the money side does not take into account the emotional aspect. A vic of Spits at low altitude captures the hearts and minds of young and old alike in a way no worthy, carefully constructed interactive display (or 'experience') ever can.

 

Cheers,

 

Colin

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I have to say that some folks on here are taking pot-shots at a very easy target, when it comes to Duxford. In the last decade, Duxford's financial contributions from the government have dropped by more than 50%. That is a massive blow to the museum's stability and it must have meant huge changes had to be implemented. I think that the Duxford management are doing a good job in very unhappy times. Not a perfect job, admittedly, but they are as human as the rest of us.

 

 Chris.  

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With respect, I felt that things were going awry some twenty years ago. I had been a Friend Of Duxford for some time, but cancelled my membership as I couldn't support the direction they (the museum leadership) were going. To me, it felt like they ripped the soul out of the place. 

 

The Duxford I loved is long gone.

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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For info purposes, a tweet from the curator of IWM Duxford;

 

"Yes Flying Legends is popular among a certain audience, but for a number of years it has been out performed by shows with less niche appeal. Duxford has always been a war museum first, aviation museum second, and IMO Legends' programme has become removed from its warbird origins."

 

 

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9 minutes ago, fightersweep said:

For info purposes, a tweet from the curator of IWM Duxford;

 

"Yes Flying Legends is popular among a certain audience, but for a number of years it has been out performed by shows with less niche appeal. Duxford has always been a war museum first, aviation museum second, and IMO Legends' programme has become removed from its warbird origins."

 

 

Yes a war museum first, aviation museum second which is why Duxford are removing the Land Warfare Hall and concentrating on aeroplanes!

Edited by wamwig
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1 minute ago, wamwig said:

Yes a war museum first, aviation museum second which is why Duxford are removing the Land Warfare Hall and concentrating on aeroplanes!

I think the whole tweet was firmly in the "Eh?" category!

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I could not believe it when I saw that tweet. It says all there is to say about IWM Duxford management, I fear. Sorry, spruecutter96, but they do not deserve any goodwill with comments like that.

 

With that attitude, if I was an operator of historic aircraft from the airfield I would already be thinking about moving out. I cannot see a long term future for flying operations at Duxford, or even the airfield itself.

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Being sensible and I can be some times !!!

If these organisations leave for other countries what happens to the support services that they supply not only for them selves but others in the aero industry ? The depth of knowledge and skills gained by their employees . The whole classic warbird scene is a small but substantial employer.

 

There are 2 discussions here ... one about an air show the other about a sector of the aviation industry. 

 

What ever happens the air show scene will be different for a number of reasons in the future. I'm lucky to be of an age where as a child I saw the QRA at RAF Finingly  to the mass fly pasts at West Malling plus seeing a Sunderland doing circuits around the Medway. Those were happy days which will never be replicated.

 

Dick

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Further info: 

Nice to see that BBC Cambridgeshire picked up this story as quick as they did.

 

 

 

@Truro Model Builder

I have to agree. That tweet from the curator does not paint a very rosy picture of the thinking at IWM.

 

 

 

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On 8/26/2020 at 10:57 AM, fightersweep said:

 

 

Quote:


It also hasn't helped that the IWM are now staffed by pretty young things with degrees in media studies and business accounting and have zero interest in the airshow side of Duxford

 

 

 

 

Something similar happened at East Fortune about 15-20 years ago where the very-aviation oriented curator moved to the US and was replaced by someone whose background was in social history. There was a distinct change in policies that changed the ethos and atmosphere (It was never confirmed, but someone I trust told me one of those was 'no more military aircraft'). Thankfully, things these days are a lot better (from an aviation enthusiast point fo view) albeit they still can't afford to restore the Beaufighter!

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