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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The 'other' secret bouncing bomb of World War Two

Related to the bouncing bomb of Dambusters fame, Highball was intended to be effective against specific military targets. Malcolm V Lowe tells the story of this secret World War Two weapon

Guess the historic aircraft cockpit

Why not test yourself on your cockpit knowledge with our quiz?

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Nord Gerfaut: France's daring delta-wing research aircraft

Tony Buttler reveals the outcome of one French company’s daring attempt to break into the world of delta-winged jet aircraft – Nord-Aviation’s Gerfaut

Japan flies first series production UH-2

Japanese manufacturer Subaru announced on May 20 that it had carried out the maiden flight of the first series production UH-2 multi-purpose helicopter destined for Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) service.

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The daring low-level daylight Mosquito raids of World War Two

The Mosquito took part in some of the most famous and daring low-level daylight precision strikes during World War Two. Malcolm V Lowe tells the story

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The colourful life of an aviation photographer

Fred Hill had a colourful life as an aviation photographer. Mark Hill reflects on his late father’s varied career – from learning his trade in the RAF to working on trials with the Vulcan and Shackleton at Woodford, Fred’s valuable imagery undoubtedly assisted in aircraft development

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Inside the de Havilland Aircraft Museum

James Peene makes a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Mosquito and home of the UK’s first aviation museum

Huge warbird fleet finds new owner

The extensive Flying Heritage collection assembled by the late Paul Allen has been acquired by Steuart Walton, a director of US retail giant Walmart.

Campaigns launched to fund major Vulcan and Shackleton projects

Newark Air Museum has launched a pair of fundraising campaigns to assist with major restoration projects on two of its Avro airframes.

The final Hustler built, B-58A 61-0280, displays the bare metal finish worn by the whole fleet. The aircraft is preserved at Pima Air & Space Museum, Arizona. (Mark Nicholls) Feature Premium

Convair B-58 Hustler – Mach 2 bomber

Mark Nicholls details the history behind the distinctive Convair B-58 Hustler and in this article from the August 1996 issue of ‘FlyPast’ lists the handful of survivors

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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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