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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How KLM kept flying as war spread through Europe

Frustrated at the consequences of war in 1940, KLM’s boss Albert Plesman dubbed the hangars full of DC-3s at Schiphol airport his “boxes of oranges”. The Aeroplane visited just before the German invasion

Gold for RAF Museum Midlands

The Cosford attraction has achieved the highest possible accreditation awarded through a VisitEngland scheme

Gloster tribute revealed at Bentham

A commemorative plaque has been unveiled at a former Gloster site

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France's final Transall goes on display at museum

The Musée de l’Air et d’Espace placed its newly acquired C-160G Gabriel on display in September, reuniting it with an old colleague, as Babak Taghvaee discovered

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Hawker Tempest pilots in combat – World War Two and Aden Emergency

By the time the Tempest entered service many of its pilots were seasoned veterans, well up to capitalising on its superb qualities. In the December 2016 issue of FlyPast Graham Pitchfork profiled a trio of Tempest exponents

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The scholarship inspiring young aviators and promoting vintage aviation

The family and friends of Thomas Castle, who lost his life in 2019, are working to ensure his name lives on to inspire young aviators and promote vintage aviation. Martin Needham learns more about the Thomas Castle Aviation Heritage Scholarship

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Vintage Aerobatic World Championship: Aviation’s friendly games

Aerobatic competitions don’t have to be hotly contested battles to see who the most precise pilot is or who has the best G tolerance, as Martin Needham discovered at the Real Aeroplane Company’s Breighton headquarters

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Aircraft night photoshoots: your ultimate guide

With the nights drawing in, Aviation News’ Martin Needham looks forward to the start of several months of tripod-based antics with this guide to getting the most from a night photoshoot

Historic Aviation Quiz - Hawker Tempest

Often said to be the ‘unsung power player’, the Hawker Tempest’s development was often troublesome. But how much do you know about the last piston engine fighter to carry Royal Air Force colours?

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FlyPast December 2022

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

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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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