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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Channel Airways - the story behind the 1960s low-cost trailblazer

The golden livery on its jets wasn’t Channel Airways’ own invention, but a low-fare, maximum-utilisation concept was. Sadly, as the late Bruce Hales-Dutton found out, it wasn’t enough to save this brave British independent carrier 

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Doug Matthews: Meet the warbird pilot with 120 world records

Success in the aviation business has allowed this Vietnam veteran and serial record-setter to make a huge contribution to the US warbird scene

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How Willy Messerschmitt sabotaged the Me 262

With its shattering performance and heavy armament, Messerschmitt’s Me 262 was a deadly opponent for any Allied aircraft, yet its impact was only felt during the last few months of the Second World War. Its development had begun in 1938, so what really happened?

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Europe's only flying Cessna T-50 Bobcat - and how it got to Germany

Following an epic trans-Atlantic ferry, Europe has an airworthy Cessna T-50 Bobcat once again

Historic Aviation Quiz: 1940s experimental aircraft

Can you identify these experimental types from across the 1940s?

Passenger flights in ex-military jets get CAA approval

Aero Legends look forward to flying customers in a BAC Strikemaster

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Unique Waco flies again in New Zealand

Sole surviving UOC Custom makes maiden post-restoration flight from airfield where it was first based 85 years ago

Biggin Hill hosts USAF Aircraft and Vehicles tour

The Kent-based attraction has announced the latest in its series of themed hangar tours

Salvage plan announced for sunken warbirds

Devastators and Wildcats from scuttled USS Lexington to be raised from seabed

Southend Vulcan events calendar confirmed

The Vulcan Restoration Trust has revealed its full events programme for the year ahead

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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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