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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MiG-27 repainted at Newark

The impressive Cold War jet has been given a new coat of paint at Newark Air Museum

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RAF Hawker Tempests in the Malayan Emergency

Following the outbreak of the Malayan Emergency in 1948, Tempest IIfighter-bombers became the backbone of the RAF’s response to the terroristsuntil they were finally displaced by jets in 1952.

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Vulcan XH558 – final flight speculation quashed

It’s been confirmed that Vulcan XH558 will not be able to make a final flight to a new home

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How Hawker Tempests exploded V1s before they could reach London

Within weeks of arrival on operations, the first Tempest squadrons were confronted by their greatest challenge – the V1 flying bomb. Beginning shortly after D-Day and lasting until the launch sites were captured by Allied armies in September, the Tempest pilots flew day and night in a desperate effort to explode the world’s first cruise missiles before they could reach London, which Hitler vowed to destroy with his ‘Vengeance’ weapon.

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What made the Hawker Tempest II the ultimate variant?

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver describes how the Tempest provided the fighter core of the British Occupation forces in Germany and served in India to become the initial equipment for the air forces of India and Pakistan.

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Aeroplane December 2022

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

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Aeroplane Calendar 2023

Aeroplane Calendar 2023

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The Hawker Tempest in WW2

In action over Europe after D-Day and tangling with Luftwaffe fighters on a regular basis, Thomas McKelvey Cleaver documents a dramatic and decisive year of combat for the Hawker Tempest 

Buchón bound for Biggin

‘White 9’ acquired by Heritage Hangar

New Wildcat restoration flies at Duxford

FM-2 painted in superb Fleet Air Arm Mediterranean theatre scheme

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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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