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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British aviation 1982-1992: entering the digital era

In part four of our series examining the British aviation industry during Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign, we take a look at the decade between 1982 and 1992

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British aviation 1992-2002: days of going it alone end

The fifth part of our series examining the British aviation industry during Elizabeth II’s reign focuses on the period between 1992 and 2002, when the days of going it alone ended

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From Bond to body hunts: Wg Cdr Ken Wallis' autogyro adventures

When the police were trying to find the missing Lord Lucan, the call went out to Wg Cdr Ken Wallis: bring an autogyro to Sussex and join the search. It wasn’t the only time this great man and his machines, equipped with film cameras, aided in body hunts

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British aviation 1962-1972: consolidation and cancellation

In the second part of our series looking at the British aerospace industry during Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign, we examine the decade between 1962 and 1972

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British aviation 1972-1982: UK looks to Europe

In the third part of our look at the British aviation industry during Elizabeth II’s reign, we focus on the decade between 1972 and 1982, when the UK looked to Europe as a way of sustaining its aerospace sector 

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HS141: A revolutionary V/STOL airliner that never was

Hawker Siddeley’s HS141 — and, indeed, other designs such as the HS133 and HS139 — sought to revolutionise city-to-city transport. But, once again, the V/STOL airliner concept was never to translate into reality

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Czech Miles Magister flies following restoration

Following a two-and-a-half-year restoration at Henstridge, Somerset by Kevin Crumplin, Miles M14A Magister N3827/G-CLHY received its permit to fly on May 13.

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Aviation News July 2022

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

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British aviation 1952-1962: a golden era and dashed hopes

Our salute to Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee begins with a unique seven-part series, tracing the story of Britain’s aeronautical industry over the seven decades of her reign — decade-by-decade, warts and all, beginning with 1952-1962

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AFC pilot’s views of training in the Cotswolds during WW1

An album obtained by Kevin Goss contains an Australian Flying Corps pilot’s views of training in the Cotswolds during the latter stages of World War One

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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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