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.

Sign up to the newsletter

An RAF Comet of 216 Squadron. Feature Premium

On-board an RAF Comet training flight to Africa in 1957

A revealing account of RAF Comet operations from the May 17, 1957 issue of The Aeroplane

NF Meteors: The RAF’s First Jet Night-Fighters

Armstrong Whitworth turned the Meteor from a simple day-fighter into one of the first radar-equipped all-weather jet interceptors. Doug Gordon remembers the career of the early night-fighter Meteors, the NF.11 and NF.13.

Feature Premium

How the Shuttleworth Collection restored a Hawker Hind

Bringing a 1930s fighter back to life is no simple task, but the Shuttleworth Collection’s skilled team are the crew to do it!

Mustang unveiled in new colours at Sywell

Formerly flying in Australia, a CAC-built Mustang has now been repainted and will operate in British skies

Feature Premium

The troublesome development of the Hawker Tempest

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver details the troublesome development of the Hawker Tempest – the last piston engine fighter to carry Royal Air Force colours

Feature Premium

The challenge to replace the Spitfire and Hurricane: Supermarine twin fighters

When the time came to replace both the Hurricane and Spitfire, the Air Ministry had a very hard act to follow...

Feature Freemium

Hendon's Lancaster - 137 combat sortie veteran

Avro Lancaster ‘S-for-Sugar’ carried out an incredible 137 combat sorties during World War Two and proudly thumbed its nose at Hermann Göring. Andrew Simpson and Nigel Price profile this Bomber Command veteran...

Hawker Typhoon rebuild recommences

After a two year hiatus, work has recommenced to return Hawker Typhoon RB396 to the skies

Eindecker reproduction flying in New Zealand

The Vintage Aviator Limited (TVAL) has released airborne footage of its latest Fokker Eindecker reproduction

RAF's 4 Squadron - how we learned to look after the Avro Rota autogyro

For an airman on No 4 Squadron, learning to look after the Avro Rota autogyro was not the most tantalising prospect — but it certainly made the summer of 1935 an interesting one

Latest Issues from our leading aviation publications

Premium Key Aero subscribers get access to read all our magazines online as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.

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

Subscribe to Key.Aero

Become a part of our aviation community and subscribe to Key.Aero now. You can get all the aviation information you'll ever need, whenever you want, with access to all the latest aviation updates, news, events and more.