The inaugural Air Legends show took place at historic Melun Villaroche Aerodrome, some twenty miles south-east of Paris, on 8-9 September. Superb weather, a wide mix of WWII and vintage transport aircraft and an enthusiastic crowd made for a wonderful first event. European warbirds, including a healthy contingent from the UK’S Air Leasing and ARC, joined the numerous Melun-based historic aircraft and others from nearby La Ferté-alais. Sadly, paperwork issues prevented the European debut of Frédéric Akary’s newly-imported F-86. Swiss-based Grumman Avenger HB-RDG replaced it and, flying alongside the French registered (F-AZJA) example, was a weekend highlight.
The flying programme was divided into segments−‘battle of Britain’, ‘Vietnam’, ‘Battle of Midway’ etc−that showcased a selection of relevant aircraft and contained some unusual combinations. They included a P-40N and French AF Alpha Jet pairing and the French Navy formation of MS760 Paris, two Vampires and four present-day Rafale Ms. Another excellent formation featuring the sole airworthy Noratlas, two DC-3S and Dassault Flamant preceded a break into individual displays. The Noratlas, which performed a tactical short landing, was particularly impressive.
Other notable items include a very nice Boomerang and Yak3U ‘dogfight’ and Christophe Jacquard’s superb Sea Fury display. Despite some of the rarer types getting limited ‘airtime’, a disjointed feel to the programme in places and the distance at which some displays were performed, this was an excellent show which the organisers have confirmed will return in September 2019.
ABOVE: Paris, Vampires and Rafales - a spectacular 'then-and-now' French Navy formation
ABOVE: Over the vertical? A lively showing from DC-3 F-AZOX LEFT: The sight of two Avengers together was a show highlight BELOW: Boomerang and Yak-3u displayed together