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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Stew Dawson at the controls of his R-3350-engined Sea Fury Spirit of Texas. DAVID LEININGER Feature Premium

Aeroplane Meets...Stewart Dawson

One of the USA’s most experienced warbird pilots has been the ‘go-to guy’ for all kinds of historic aeroplanes, and a Reno racer to boot

Duxford Victor on the move News Premium

Duxford Victor painted and moved to new hangar 

Work to restore the sole-surviving Handley Page Victor B.1A (XH648) is now making eye-catching progress at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, in Cambridgeshire.…

At Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia, Northward- and Southward-bound Comets were photographed together. Feature Premium

Rare Photos of BOAC Comets in Africa

Prior to the Comet entering service BOAC undertook route familiarization flights in Africa. Depicted are some stunning colour photos from the May 2, 1952 issue of ‘The Aeroplane’

A good view of the initial ice patrol modifications made by Nordair to its L-188C Electras: an under-fuselage radome taken from a CP-107 Argus, an astrodome that used to be a Sabre canopy, and bulging observation windows. Observers would take hour-long turns in the upper ‘bubble’. DAVE OSBORNE Feature Premium

Nordair L-188 Electras – Hunting icebergs

A good view of the initial ice patrol modifications made by Nordair to its L-188C Electras: an under-fuselage radome taken from a CP-107 Argus, an astrodome that used to be a Sabre canopy, and bulging observation windows. Observers would take hour-long turns in the upper ‘bubble’.

Plans are afoot to remove the Swiss Pinocchio nose as soon as possible and to repaint LN-17 in RNorAF colours. Erik Nilsen Feature Premium

Vampire in the North – Norway’s first flying jet warbird

A Boeing 737 pilot broke new ground by getting approval from the Norwegian CAA to fly a de Havilland Vampire. The challenging project was detailed by Malcolm Barker in the September 1993 issue of FlyPast

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Aviation News June 2022

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

Spitfire PR.XIX PM651 News Premium

RAF Museum Spitfire heads out for Midlands ‘tour’ 

A Spitfire from RAF Museum Midlands (formerly known as RAF Museum Cosford) is to appear as a static exhibit at four Midlands locations this summer…

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First impressions of Comet flying

Before the Comet entered service four of ‘The Aeroplane’s’ staff had flown in the jet and gave their thoughts in the May 2, 1952 edition on what this new form of travel was like compared with propeller-driven airliners

The Curtiss Model 54 Tanager demonstrates a short, steep take-off, showing how it could clear the ‘obstacle’ at left. VIA PHILIP JARRETT Feature Premium

The competition that tried to make flying safer

In the inter-war aviation industry’s efforts to improve the safety of commercial aeroplanes, a one-off contest in the USA sought to play its part — but it wasn’t without trouble and controversy

Historic aviation quiz: de Havilland Comet

How much do you know about the world's first jet airliner? Try your arm at this weeks historic aviation quiz…

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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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