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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Historic Aviation Quiz: Great War Aircraft Recognition

How good is your aircraft recognition? Can you recognise these Great War types?

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Battle of the Bulge – the Hawker Tempest’s ferocious fight back

Also known as the Ardennes Offensive, the Battle of the Bulge was the final major German campaign on the Western Front during World War Two. Thomas McKelvey Cleaver details the ferocious aerial fight back Hawker Tempest crews mounted in response

Lightning event sells out in a day

The Lightning Preservation Group has announced its first event in three years – and it has sold out in less than 24 hours

Whirlwind stars at night shoot

Westland Whirlwind HAR.10 XJ729 was among the stars at a recent night photography shoot

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240 kills: Why the Hawker Tempest V was a dangerous opponent

Chris Thomas explained in the December 2016 issue of Flypast why the Tempest V ruled the roost and gained the respect of Luftwaffe jet pilots 

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Duxford Victor restoration revealed

Martin Needham reports from the Imperial War Museum Duxford on the completion of its Handley Page Victor B.1A(K2P) restoration

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How 501 Sqn Hawker Tempests downed 95 V1 flying bombs

For the Royal Auxiliary Air Force’s No 501 Squadron with its new Hawker Tempest Vs, the task was a stark one: destroy V1 flying bombs at any cost. Tom Spencer detailed the unit’s efforts in the August 2016 issue of Aeroplane Magazine

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The troublesome development of the Hawker Tempest

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver details the troublesome development of the Hawker Tempest – the last piston engine fighter to carry Royal Air Force colours

IBCC ‘stands with giants’

An impressive remembrance-themed display is on show at the International Bomber Command Centre

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Major aircraft collection under threat

An important civil aviation museum needs to find a new home

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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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