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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Pilot report: The world's only airworthy Hanriot HD1

Where once Belgium’s balloon-busting ace Willy Coppens sat, today The Vintage Aviator’s pilots get to experience the unique thrill of flying the sole airworthy Hanriot HD1. John Lanham reports

Bravo November now on display at RAF Museum

The sole surviving Chinook helicopter flown by the RAF during the Falklands campaign is now on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

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The incredible story of how Malta survived World War Two

Almost totally surrounded, outnumbered and outresourced, the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta became a byword for bravery and resilience in World War Two, and never more so than in the April of 1942. Joseph Debono explains

The primary aircraft for the Black Buck 1 mission was Vulcan B.2 XM598 (shown here shortly after it first arrived at Wideawake Airfield), however a cockpit window wouldn’t seal properly and so the aircraft couldn’t be pressurised. This led to the back-up aircraft carrying out the attack. Bob Shackleton/VTST Feature Premium

Planning the Vulcan raids on the Falklands

Dr Kevin Wright interviewed Sqn Ldr Andy Marson (Ret), at the time Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s navigator on XH558, who helped plan the Black Buck raids during the Falklands War. He provided his insight into these complex missions in the August 2015 issue of Aviation News

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What it's like to fly the Westland Wasp

Luke Bimm takes to the skies in a helicopter with a sting in its tail

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The key aircraft Argentina used in the Falklands War

The weaponry and tactics employed by Argentine forces during the 1982 Malvinas/Falklands conflict remain a source of fascination and some confusion – exacerbated, perhaps, by the relative scarcity of images. Santiago Rivas presents a revealing overview of the main Argentine aircraft used in the conflict

Bravo November: An icon of British aviation retires to the RAF Museum Cosford

One of the original batch of 30 Boeing CH-47 Chinooks ordered by the RAF in 1978, ZA718, better known by her call sign, Bravo November recently joined the collection at the RAF Museum Cosford to begin the next chapter of her life as a static display piece and FlyPast were there for the unveiling

A-4B Skyhawk C-225 at Villa Reynolds just prior to the Conflict, carrying four 5" Zuni rockets and a centreline drop tank. Photos via Author Feature Premium

Argentine A-4 Skyhawk pilot’s Falklands War missions

Salvador Huertas spoke with Pablo Marcos Carballo who flew the A-4 Skyhawk during the Falklands War and gives a fascinating insight from the Argentine Air Force perspective and recounted one of his combat missions in the July 1991 issue of AirForces Monthly

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The ten aircraft that helped Britain win the Falklands War

The nature of conflict during the Falklands campaign meant that British aircraft played an essential role – not just as combatants, but equally crucially as tankers and in re-supply and rescue roles, among others. We attempt to pick out ten of Britain’s best – from the fabled Sea Harrier and Vulcan to the less celebrated Westland Lynx and Wasp

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Falklands War: How the conflict began

On the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Falklands War, James Connolly details how the conflict began 

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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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