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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La Ferté Dragon Rapide takes shape

At La Ferté-Alais, restoration of the Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis’ de Havilland DH89A Dragon Rapide F-AZCA has seen application of more of its post-war Fleet Air Arm colour scheme.

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Proctor I makes debut public appearance

Whitby, Yorkshire-based Paul Gliddon’s Percival Proctor I VH-UXS made its public debut at the Tyabb Air Show in Gliddon’s hands on 10 February, nearly five years after its first post-restoration flight at Latrobe Valley Regional Airport, 90-odd miles west of Melbourne.

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Save the Skymaster closes

North Weald-based Save the Skymaster has announced that it is to close its charity and halt restoration work on Douglas C-54, N44914 (c/n 10630) ‘56498’.

The Thomas Castle Aviation Heritage Scholarship trust has announced its 2024 scholarships

Applications for one of five available scholarships will open on May 1

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How the Soviets improvised to counter Luftwaffe night intruders

How to take on Luftwaffe intruders by night when you lack any dedicated night fighters? The Soviet Northern Fleet was forced to improvise — and the results were mixed

Historic ‘9/11’ Cessna for USAF museum

The National Museum of the US Air Force has received Cessna 172P N9344L, newly retired by the Civil Air Patrol.

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Mosquito T43 flies at Ardmore

On 18 March, former Royal New Zealand Air Force de Havilland Mosquito T43 NZ2308 — the fourth Mosquito to emerge from the Avspecs workshops at Ardmore, Auckland — took to the air with leading American warbird pilot Steve Hinton at the controls.

Historic Aviation Quiz

How good is your knowledge of historic aviation? Test yourself here...

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FlyPast June 2024

June 2024 issue of FlyPast in page-turning format is a 148-page special edition saluting the many heroes of D-Day in the run-up to the 80th anniversary of World War Two’s ‘longest day’

BIG year for Meteor WS778!

Work to bring Meteor NF(T).14 WS788 back to life continues apace at Elvington’s Yorkshire Air Museum (YAM) near York…

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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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