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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How a pricey restaurant bill led an actor to start an airline with a Dragon Rapide

The very fine restoration of a de Havilland Dragon Rapide also resurrected a British airline name from the past. We tracked down the man who ran the original Scillonia Airways, and talked to one of the leading lights in the modern operation of the same name

Curtiss P-40N Warhawk restoration projects offered for sale

In a deal brokered by US-based Courtesy Aircraft Sales, a pair of Curtiss P-40N Warhawk restoration projects are available to purchase

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Flying Germany’s incredible V/STOL Dornier Do 31 airlifter

German jet innovation resumed post-war, and with a vengeance. The Dornier Do 31 V/STOL transport was a remarkable achievement — we talked to the test pilot who was instrumental in this ground-breaking project

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How Hawker Hurricanes were modified to transport mail

Outmoded as a European theatre fighter the Hawker Hurricane may have been by 1944-45, but still it played a key role in the Allied liberation of Europe — of all things, delivering mail

Last Australian C-130A scrapped

The bulk of Lockheed C-130A Hercules A92-214, latterly an exhibit at the RAAF Museum’s Point Cook base, has been scrapped.

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Broussard returns to the skies in Wiltshire

Following an extensive rebuild and avionics upgrade, Max Holste MH.1521C Broussard G-CLLK flew again on February 10.

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The RAF’s first Javelin squadron

In its July 13, 1956 issue ‘The Aeroplane’ reported on No. 46 Squadron at RAF Odiham which was putting the Javelin through its paces in terms of trials and tactics development

Official launch for Navy Wings’ Seafire

Supermarine Seafire Mk.XVII SX336 was rolled out at Yeovilton on April 6, flying in front of a gathering of guests and media.

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An in-depth look at the Grumman Goose

In this month's Aeroplane Database, James Kightly and Ryan Pemberton take an in-depth look at the development, technical details, service and flying characteristics of the Grumman Goose

Historic Aviation Quiz

Try your hand at this week's Historic Aviation Quiz. Let us know what score you get and share it with your friends to see who really knows the most!

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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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