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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B-17G crash memorial ceremony

A commemorative ceremony will be held in the town of Cornebarrieu, near Toulouse in southwest France, on May 7, 2024 to remember a US Army Air Force navigator killed on a June 1944 mission.

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Philippine Mars to join Pima Air and Space Museum

Coulson Aviation’s Philippine Mars flying boat – one of only five Martin JRM Mars ever produced – is to be donated to Arizona’s Pima Air and Space Museum later this year.  

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Landing gear fitted to Argentine Ju 52

The restoration of a Junkers Ju 52/3mge (msn 4043) – formerly the Argentine Air Force’s T-158 – passed a new milestone on March 26 with the installation of its main landing gear.

Win RIAT tickets, worth £150

AirForces Monthly and Combat Aircraft Journal have teamed up with the Royal International Air Tattoo to offer one lucky reader a pair of general admission tickets, worth £150, for Sunday, July 21. 

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D-Day Spitfire operations

Spitfires flew on operations throughout D-Day, fulfilling a variety of crucial roles. Andrew Thomas details a memorable day for all involved

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Aeroplane June 2024

June 2024 issue of Aeroplane in page-turning format is a D-Day 80th anniversary special commemorating the Allied landings on June 6, 1944 — and the air power that liberated Europe, hour-by-hour

Historic Aviation Quiz

How good is your knowledge of historic aviation? Test your knowledge here...

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Painting progress on Pima projects

The spray booth at the vast Pima Air and Space Museum complex in Arizona has been kept busy recently as several exhibits have been repainted before going on display.

Bolingbroke discovered in Canada

In early March, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) announced that the remains of a Bristol Bolingbroke had been discovered in the province of Manitoba and donated to the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM), which is aiming to put an example of the type in the air.

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‘Marine One’ finds new home in Texas

Former United States Marine Corps Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King 159358 was delivered on permanent loan to the George HW Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas on February 27, 2024.

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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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