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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Want to buy a Gnat in Red Arrows colours?

A Folland Gnat and a full size replica Hawk, plus a range of aircraft parts are being offered for sale in an online auction.

Devotion: have you seen it?

FlyPast’s Jamie Ewan reviews one of the most anticipated war films of recent years – Devotion

Experimental jets get an airing at Cosford

TSR2 among test airframes to come outside — briefly — during hangar reshuffle

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BBMF Hurricane and PA-28 seconds away from mid-air collision

A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Hawker Hurricane was seconds away from a head-on mid-air collision, the latest report from the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) has revealed.

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Aeroplane meets... Andrew Panton

When Fred and Harold Panton sought to honour their brother, killed while serving with Bomber Command, their ambitions were limited. But from that came the acquisition of Lancaster NX611, the establishment of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, and one of the greatest stories of British aircraft preservation. Fred’s grandson Andrew now has this considerable legacy in his hands

Historic Aviation Quiz: US F-104 Edition

With January 28, 2023 marking the 65th anniversary of the first production Lockheed F-104A Starfighter being delivered to the United States Air Force (USAF), we dedicate this week’s Historic Aviation Quiz to Lockheed’s ‘missile with a man in it’…

Hopes to keep Arthur Scarf VC medal in UK

The RAF Museum is calling on the public’s support to help keep Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf’s Victoria Cross medal in the UK

Airworthy Spitfire bound for Turkey

Flying museum at Sivrihisar to receive combat veteran MkIX after restoration

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FlyPast First Edition May-June 1981

As FlyPast's 500th issue (March 2023) hits the shelves, KEY.aero are offering subscribers the chance to catch up on the very first issue of the magazine...

Duxford to host History Festival in March

Duxford's history festival will allow enthusiasts to ‘experience their own immersive, history-filled programme meeting real war veterans’

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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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