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.

The Sea Vixen: 17 tons of naval jet fighter

Operational throughout the 1960s, the Sea Vixen was a 55ft-long beast capable of 690mph.

How de Havilland moved into air-to-air missiles

With propellers on the way out, de Havilland upped the stakes and started producing some serious weaponry…

Venoms of the East

Malcolm Payne remembers his days flying with 28 Squadron in Hong Kong...

The Vampire and the jet age

Originally called the Spider Crab, the Vampire ushered in a new era for de Havilland, and was used by some air forces until the end of the 1980s.

Restoring a de Havilland Sea Venom

Getting a 1950s naval jet fighter back to its original condition is a painstaking business…

De Havilland's all-wooden wartime assault glider

In the pre-helicopter age, sending troops behind enemy lines meant packing them into a plywood glider like this…

Made of wood, held together with four bolts: de Havilland’s WW2 game-changer

From being turned down by the Ministry of Defence to becoming de Havilland’s greatest wartime aircraft, the story behind the Mosquito – and the incredible engineering behind it – showed aviation ingenuity at its very best.

Inside the de Havilland Mosquito B35 bomber

Watch our video of the Mosquito’s interior – these are the conditions that pilots and navigators faced…

The ground-attack Mosquito that used cigarette technology

Used for daring, low-flying raids, the Mosquito FB MkVI packed huge firepower – partly thanks to some ingenious thinking from an unlikely source.

The Mosquito’s 272kg bomb

Known as the ‘Highball’, only 200 were ever made. Watch footage of one that was raised up from the bottom of a Scottish loch – 74 years after being dropped by a Mosquito from 618 Squadron.

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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