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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Bristol 188: The Flaming Pencil

Despite its radical appearance, the Bristol 188 supersonic research aircraft never came close to fulfilling its primary objectives, as Tony Buttler reveals

How you can help the BBMF survive for years to come

In the final instalment of Key.Aero's interview with Mark 'Suggs' Sugden, the new O/C talks through how the BBMF is funded and what you can do to help the flight stay in the air

Picture of the Week

This week's Picture of the Week was taken by Brenda Spooner

Roosevelt and Churchill Feature Premium

A Christmas message from the Prime Minister (1941)

Following the Japanese attack on the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Winston Churchill made his way to the United States of America. Arriving in the US after a ten-day sea crossing aboard the battleship HMS Duke of York, on December 22, Churchill made the last leg to Washington via aeroplane, where President Roosevelt was waiting to greet him…

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Paul Richey: Fighter Pilot

If you read last week’s reread feature on Piece of Cake, you’ll be aware that certain elements of Derek Robinson’s novel are said to be inspired by real life characters and events and one book that is often mentioned in the same breath as Piece of Cake is Fighter Pilot, by Paul Richey…

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de Havilland Vampire: A Fangtastic Beast

In the post-Shoreham classic jet age, keeping the last RAF Vampire in the skies is no easy task. James Peene spoke to the Vampire Preservation Group to find out what’s involved

New Officer Commanding to take BBMF in different direction?

In this second instalment from Key.Aero's chat with new BBMF Officer Commanding, Suggs details his plans, including new paint jobs we can expect to see and maintenance plans for the fleet

ULTIMATE Historic Aviation Quiz! Part One

Over Christmas and New Year, we're bringing you an ULTIMATE historic aviation quiz. This week we bring you part one...what will you score?

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FlyPast Editorial Picks of 2021

In this look back on 2021, Key Aero asked the FlyPast editorial staff for their favourite features from this year's issues of FlyPast magazine

Meet the BBMF's new boss!

Key.Aero bring you the first five in a series of exclusive videos with the new Officer Commanding of the BBMF, Mark 'Suggs' Sugden...

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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