Flying Legends Airshow Returns With New Venue

The Balbo formation, the traditional finale of Flying Legends
United Fuel Cells

By Charlotte Bailey

The Fighter Collection’s famous Flying Legends Airshow – previously held at Imperial War Museum Duxford – will return for 2023 at Leeds East Airport (formerly RAF Church Fenton) in Yorkshire, England, a new venue for the show. “Come and join us at the biggest and best classic aviation event in the world,” the organizers noted via social media; an invitation which many fans of this iconic warbird and historic aviation show are eagerly looking forwards to accepting.

A unique formation of Curtiss fighter aircraft at a previous Flying Legends event. The show is well known for bringing in rare and unique types for display from across the world. (photo by Luigino Caliaro)

The 2023 show will take place over the weekend of 15th/16th July, 2023, with organizers promising over 50 World War II fighters “in a unique and exciting aerial demonstration!” A diverse array of aircraft already feature in the lineup, with more confirmations expected to follow. “Some of these aircraft have never been seen before in the UK,” the organizers noted, potentially hinting at further exciting additions. Flying Legends is well known for secretly bringing in unusual aircraft types from around the world, presenting them as a last minute surprise at the event, so this show promises to be a not-to-miss event of the 2023 air show season! For a complete list of aircraft, click HERE.

A number of entries into the flying program come courtesy of Duxford-based operators and show organizers ‘The Fighter Collection’, including a Curtiss P40F Warhawk, a Curtiss Wright P-40C, a Goodyear Corsair FG-1D, and a Grumman Wildcat FM-2. A Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, Hawker Sea Fury FB.11, North American P-51D Mustang, and a Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX are also currently scheduled to participate.

The massive ‘Balbo’ formation closes out every Flying Legends air display. It has to be seen in person to truly appreciate it’s astonishing beauty! (photo by Alessandro Taffetani)

Between 1993 and 2019, Flying Legends took place annually at IWM Duxford, but a change in the relationship between the organizers and the venue brought that to an end in 2019. Although the 2021 event was scheduled to take place at Sywell, the pandemic ended up preventing that from happening, and no suitable venue was available for a 2022 show.

However, in February 2023, Flying Legends announced their new venue, the former RAF Church Fenton, now known as Leeds East Airport. Church Fenton opened in April 1937 and served as a fighter base, with No.71 Squadron operating the Gloster Gladiator – indeed The Fighter Collection’s Gladiator Mk.II N5903 is scheduled to perform at this year’s event. Post-war, the base was largely relegated to a training role, with the RAF finally relinquishing the site in 2013. In February 2015, new owners announced that the airport would re-open under civilian control as  Leeds East Airport; The Yorkshire Air Show took place there in 2015.

Entry is by advance ticket only, and purchasing details are expected to be announced shortly. Although some enthusiasts have noted their disappointment that the weekend clashes with the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) held annually at RAF Fairford, many excited comments on Flying Legend’s Facebook page pay testimony to the event’s popularity and the excitement its return surely brings.

For more information and tickets, visit



  1. Furious that Flying Legends clashes with RIAT.
    Extremely poor planning.
    My two favourite Airshows on the same weekend.
    Get it sorted, as I am one of a majority with the same attitude.

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