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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Hurricane in fatal crash at Czech show

Czech-owned Hawker Hurricane IV OO-HUR and its pilot were lost in an accident on 14 August

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Rapier Defence System revealed at Newark

Newark Air Museum has put on display what’s believed to be the only complete example of MBDA’s Rapier Field Standard C ground-based air defence system…

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Airworthy Mustang goes ‘home’ to Australia

Former RAAF North American P-51D Mustang 44-13016 (A68-674) has returned to Australia after being acquired by Doug Hamilton of Wangaratta, Victoria…

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New home finalised for USAF Stratotanker

Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker 60-0329 has been towed to a new display position at the National Museum of the USAF’s Air Park in Dayton, Ohio…

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How America’s oldest flying fighter took to the skies again

The Nieuport 28C-1 was the first fighter aircraft used in anger by a US military aviation unit. Now, following a magnificent restoration, an original example of this potent machine is flying again

Historic Aviation Quiz - Aviation firsts

Test your knowledge in our historic aviation quiz - Aviation firsts edition

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Hawker Hurricane returns to British skies

Britain’s population of airworthy Hawker Hurricanes has risen in number to 12. On July 18, Hurricane Mk.II P3351 flew from France to a new home in the UK.

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How Avro's Tudor regained its reputation

The Avro Tudor is best-known for tragedies. But, on the Berlin Airlift, it demonstrated a more positive side

The Ultimate Sir Freddie Laker Quiz!

This weekend marks exactly 100 years since Sir Freddie Laker was born, and as part of our special Key Aero coverage, this week's commercial aviation quiz is a Laker special! From his formative years through to this final ventures, celebrate Sir Freddie's remarkable contribution to aviation in this ultimate test.

Sale of giant warbird collection confirmed

The Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum has been bought by the Wartime History Museum — and will stay at its current home

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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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