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 restoration of XH558

In 2004, over 20 years after its final RAF flight, permission was granted to restore the XH558 back to flying condition. This is how it was done…

The design genius of the Vulcan

What made the Avro Vulcan bomber so far ahead of its time? Designed just five years after the Lancaster, it’s incredible to understand the advancements that were made in such a short time

Bumper Vulcan Quiz

You might think you know everything there is to know about the Avro Vulcan, but we've put together the ultimate quiz to find out just how much you really know...

Huge grant awarded to Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre

Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre at Newquay Airport has received a grant of £40,300 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen

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Your Historic Aviation 5-a-day

A commercial passenger-carrying development of the famous Vickers Vimy flew for the first time on April 13 in 1919. Check out these photos from our archive of some of the Vimy family of aircraft

What makes the Vulcan so special?

Ben Dunnell, Editor of Aeroplane, and Jamie Ewan, Editor of Aviation News, discuss the Vulcan’s impact on aviation engineering…

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Your Historic Aviation five-a-day

Kicking off our daily series of historic photographs from our archive, we commemorate 86 years to the day since the Bristol Blenheim took to the air for the first time

Battle of Britain statue found

Leicestershire police have published a plea to find the rightful owner of the 30-year-old commemorative anniversary bust... do you recognise it?

The operational history of Vulcan XH558

She turned out to be the gentle giant at the heart of the Cold War despite much more serious intentions. This is the story of XH558, one of Britain’s most loved and missed aircraft

The Vulcan and the V-Force

Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s Chief Engineer, Taff Stone, talks about XH558 and its role in Britain’s Cold War-era nuclear deterrent

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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