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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Southend Vulcan to be opened to visitors 

Visit the Vulcan Day returns for the first time in 2022 at London Southend Airport on April 24, giving visitors the chance to see Avro Vulcan XL426 up close.

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A day at the show: Vintage Aeroplane Club

January might not seem the most practical time for a gathering of historic open cockpit aircraft, but that month in 1952 a new club’s first major rally proved an outstanding success despite the freezing temperatures

Original Nieuport biplane flies again in Sweden 

The American Heritage Museum’s Nieuport 28 C-1 made its first post-restoration flight on April 2 from Sebbarp, Sweden, in the hands of Mikael Carlson.

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Aeroplane meets Jim Beasley

The legal profession ran as a common thread between Jim Beasley father and son — but so did flying warbirds

Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation ceases Hunter F.6A operations

The Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation (DHHF) has sold its single-seat Hunter F.6A, after terminating the jet’s use due to subdued demand for air displays in the Netherlands.

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The Swiss Dassault Mirage III scandal

Military aircraft procurement is now a highly controversial issue in Switzerland, but this was not always the case. It all started in 1964, when the cost of acquiring the Dassault Mirage III spiralled out of control

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Starfighter scandal: Did Germany's Lockheed F-104 deserve its bad name?

Fatal crashes and a bribery affair — the reputation of the Lockheed F-104 in Germany could hardly have been worse. But the Starfighter barely deserved its bad name

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The controversial 1937 Tupolev ANT-25 flight distance record

When the Soviet Union, with the Tupolev ANT-25, set a new world distance record in 1937, The Aeroplane’s editor C. G. Grey felt the whole thing was a fix, said so in print, and nearly caused an international incident. The record stood — but was he right?

Nimrods and Victors sharing a very crowded ramp at Wideawake during Operation Corporate. Crown Copyright Feature Premium

Multi-role Victors of the Falklands War

British success in the Falklands War relied heavily on the vital contribution of the Victor. Glenn Sands detailed the aircraft type’s involvement in the conflict in the July 2012 issue of FlyPast

In its MATS livery, ‘Connie’ N494TW has become a popular airshow attraction in the USA. All photos Roger Soupart Feature Premium

The life and times of Constellation N494TW

In FlyPast’s February 1996 issue Roger Soupart looked at the history of ‘Connie’ N494TW – and went flying on the classic propliner on behalf of the magazine

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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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