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.

Sign up to the newsletter

Vincent arrival accelerates NZ Vildebeest restoration

Vickers biplanes come together in RNZAF museum restoration hangar

Feature Premium

Aeroplane meets... Peter Arnold

The world’s leading Spitfire expert has been instrumental in many a project — and travelled the globe in search of airframes

Feature Premium

The inside story of Ireland’s two-seat Spitfires

While Vickers-Armstrongs failed to enjoy their hoped-for success with the Spitfire Trainer, the Irish Air Corps was an enthusiastic customer. Today, these aircraft have assumed great importance on the warbird scene. With new research and never-before-seen archive photographs, this is the most comprehensive study yet of Ireland’s two-seat ‘Spits’

Owning a Spitfire: does it live up to the dream?

George Haye has fulfilled the dream of owning a Spitfire having bought RW382/G-PBIX, which is also known as the Suffolk Spitfire. He tells Key Aero’s Dino Carrara whether the reality of owning this iconic warbird has lived up to the dream.

Feature Premium

How the Soviets used the iconic Spitfire in combat

Vladimir Kotelnikov, in the February 2014 issue of FlyPast, revealed the Spitfire’s combat career with Soviet forces.

Feature Premium

Aviation News September 2023

The full issue in page-turning format

US-based Fairey Gannet to make first flight in years

Yeovilton-based charity Navy Wings have issued the following statement:

Shuttleworth gets grants for engineering apprentices

Funding boost for apprenticeship programme at Old Warden

Feature Premium

Spitfire missions of Rhodesian-manned 266 Squadron

From a special Key Publishing magazine on the Spitfire, Andrew Thomas outlines the exploits of the Rhodesian-manned 266 Squadron

Ex-Thunder City Lightning returns to UK — in 'kit' form!

F6 arrives at Binbrook as birthday present for legendary ex-Lightning unit boss

Latest Issues from our leading aviation publications

Premium Key Aero subscribers get access to read all our magazines online as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.

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

Subscribe to Key.Aero

Become a part of our aviation community and subscribe to Key.Aero now. You can get all the aviation information you'll ever need, whenever you want, with access to all the latest aviation updates, news, events and more.