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.

Constellation Feature Premium

The first pressurised airliner in widespread use

With a wingspan longer than the total distance of Orville Wright’s first flight, the Lockheed Constellation was an important step in the evolution of commercial aviation

Bessica Raiche Feature Premium

Underrated pioneers of aviation

Beyond famous names like the Wright Brothers, there are some amazing contributors to the history of flight – like the female solo pilot who built an aeroplane in her living room…

Hurricane Feature Premium

100th Anniversary of Hawker

November 15, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Hawker Aircraft Limited. Here's a timeline of the celebrated company and its achievements...

Leg Room Feature Premium

What were flights like in the 1950s? 

Complimentary postcards when boarding, acres of legroom, and personal porters at baggage reclaim: early commercial air travel was a long way from Ryanair… 

The DC-3's revolutionary flight across America

In 1938, an American Airlines DC-3 would make the revolutionary flight across America...

Feature Premium

Aeroplane December 2020

Welcome to Aeroplane December 2020

Historic Aviation Quiz

Here's this week's Historic Aviation Quiz!

The baby Mustang you could build in your back garden

It may not have been ground breaking, but it was one of the first and most popular aeroplane kits that aviation enthusiasts could build in their back garden.

The stories behind aviation movies

We know the stories, but how true are they? Key.Aero dives into the real inspirations for four of Hollywood’s most popular aviation films...

Jimmy DooLots!

His name certainly wasn’t reflective of his contributions to aviation. We take a brief look at the life and achievements of Jimmy DooLittle!

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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