Historic

Key.Aero leads the way in the field of aviation history and heritage. Enjoy an outstanding mix of restoration and warbird features, fascinating articles on aviation history produced by some of the best writers in the business and in-depth and entertaining reports on all historic aircraft. Broad coverage spans the earliest years of flight through to the Cold War, encompassing countless aircraft types and their aerial achievements, plus Key.Aero offers the very latest historical aviation news.

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FlyPast Podcast Episode 51

For this episode of the FlyPast Podcast we’re joined by [retired] Group Captain Tim Willbond OBE to talk about the debt we owe Air Chief Marshal Dowding...

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20 things you didn't know about the Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Two planes, one pilot: the P-38 Lightning made its first flight on January 27, 1939. It had a top speed of over 400 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest fighters to date. To mark the anniversary of its first flight, we’ve put together 22 facts that you may not have known of the P-38 Lightning…

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Heritage History: RCAF 407 Squadron

In the latest of our squadron heritage histories, Andrew Thomas focuses on a Royal Canadian Air Force unit that has flown maritime operations for its entire lifespan – the 407 ‘Demon Squadron’

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P-51 Mustang 65 Years on

On this day in 1957, 65 years ago on the button, the United States Air Force retired the final P-51s from service. From that date forward, all USAF fighters would be jet-powered

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New home for TBAG's Buccaneers

When it had to leave its long time base, The Buccaneer Aviation Group (TBAG) had some tough decisions to make. The team’s Jake Wallace reflects on how they’ve successfully saved their two mighty jets and given them a new lease of life at a new home

FIRST EVER – With the distinction of being the World’s first civil air liner to be designed, from the outset, for airscrew turbines, the Viscount promises to set a new high standard of air line travel. Feature Premium

‘The Aeroplane’ air tests the Viscount

The Viscount was the world’s first turboprop airliner and an impressive total of 448 examples were manufactured. ‘The Aeroplane’ published this air test report on the new propliner in its November 4, 1949 issue

Historic Aviation Quiz - Seaplane Edition

How well do you know your Float-Seaplanes and Flying Boats?
Test your knowledge with this weeks selection of aircraft silhouettes…

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To Kill a Radar: Analysing the now largely-forgotten ARMAT missile

Now largely forgotten, ARMAT was a French weapon that proved its worth in the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War. We take a closer look

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FlyPast Cockpit: The truth behind the tales

FlyPast debunks common myths and tells the stories of popular legends. This month: Beer Barrel Spitfires!

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FlyPast Cockpit Lengends: Al Deere

A man who epitomised so many of the qualities – courage, tenacity and toughness – of his fellow New Zealanders, Al Deere’s autobiography, Nine Lives, captures perfectly these characteristics, which made him a Battle of Britain ace and the second highest scoring New Zealand fighter pilot

The Latest Historic Aviation News All in One Place

This is your one stop shop for everything you could possibly want to know about historic aviation. Historic aircraft flights, displays and renovations can all be found among the categories and articles linked to from this page.

Readers can find categories for Warbirds, restoration projects by individuals and organisations such as museums, and in-depth resources on iconic aircraft from all the corners of the globe. Whether it is the Hughes H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose, Boeing C-137 Stratoliner, Aerospatiale / British Aircraft Corporation Concorde, Tupolev Tu-144, Hawker Harrier jump-jet or any other historic commercial and military aircraft, the information is here at your fingertips.

Warbird News & Projects

Warbird enthusiasts spend their time bringing iconic military aircraft back to life and in some cases even back to a state of airworthiness. The name Warbird originally referred only to World War 2 era aircraft but has since been widened to include all historical military aircraft.

Popular Warbird types include the North American P-51 Mustang, Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane and the Messerschmitt Bf109. While one or two-seat fighters are affordable for the individual enthusiast to restore, aviation museums and groups of people take on much larger aircraft. Examples of these, include, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the Avro Lancaster. The most famous of recent years must be the Avro Vulcan supersonic bomber, which is now on a static display in the UK but flew for several years at airshows.

See all the latest Warbird projects here

Spitfire Fighter Aircraft

The Supermarine Spitfire is arguably the most iconic World War II era European aircraft. Credited with a significant role in the Battle of Britain victory against the Luftwaffe’s assault on Great Britain in the summer of 1940, the propeller driven fighter was designed by Reginald J Mitchell at Supermarine Aviation. Mitchell designed the Spitfire with the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon engines in mind because he saw their potential when combined with the aircraft’s unique aerodynamics.

The Spitfire first flew on 5th March 1936 from Eastleigh Aerodrome. However, due to production issues and limitations in Supermarine’s manufacturing process, the first production Spitfire did not take to the skies for a further 2 years. The Spitfire was born four months after the maiden flight of its partner aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane. Together they would deny Nazi Germany air superiority over England and the English channel.

Find out more about the legendary Spitfire

Aircraft Restorations

The restoration of historical aircraft is a challenge full of difficult obstacles with missing engines, control system parts, and the need for significant fuselage, wing or tail repair. The long, slow process of restoring an aircraft to a flight worthy condition or simply for static display is taken up by many individuals, but also museums and groups of enthusiasts.

The restorations undertaken can be as small as a one-seat civilian bi-plane or the always popular Warbirds, or as large as a Lockheed C-121C Constellation. Museums that tackle large scale restorations include the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum in Missouri and the Museum of Flight in Everett, Washington. These museums have restored early propeller driven passenger aircraft and the early airliners built in the USA and Europe, like the de Havilland Comet.    

Read more aircraft restoration articles

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