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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Wellesbourne Vulcan XM655 runs off runway

Avro Vulcan B.2 XM655 was involved in a taxiing incident at Wellesbourne on September 16.

Nimrod crew tribute unveiled in Scotland

The Morayvia Museum at Kinloss in Scotland recently unveiled a memorial to crew members lost in three Nimrod crashes

VIDEO: Behind the scenes with marathon Dragon Rapide restoration

Volunteer Ken Pye talks about the de Havilland Aircraft Museum’s resurrection of a classic airliner

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Battle of Britain's forgotten 'Few': a Canadian desperate to join the RAF's fight

The mother of Camille Bon Seigneur said her son was “filled with the highest ideals”. Alas, his participation in the Battle of Britain was to be brief

Historic Aviation Quiz: The USAF at 75 Edition

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United States Air Force … but how much do you know about the service's early days?

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Battle of Britain’s forgotten ‘Few’: a brave naval aviator

The tragic tale of Fleet Air Arm pilot Arthur Blake, who fought in the RAF alongside a childhood friend

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KC-135Q Pilot: Special Blackbird procedures and rescuing an SR-71

Pilot Lt Col Erik C Swanson (ret.) concludes his description of serving on the KC-135Q force supporting the SR-71A Blackbird on its secret missions

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F-86 Sabre pilot on fighting MiGs in the Korean War

In the August 2009 issue of FlyPast, Warren E Thompson takes a look at Sabre versus MiG and presents an American pilot’s account of fighting Soviet jets in the Korean War

Winner of de Havilland flying scholarship revealed

Selma Gage awarded flight training bursary

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Battle of Britain's forgotten 'Few': Hurricane R4118 pilot 'Jock' Muirhead

One of three pilots to score air-to-air victories in Hawker Hurricane I R4118 during the Battle of Britain, Flt Lt Ian ‘Jock’ Muirhead was tragically shot down and killed just three weeks after his own success

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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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