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

News Premium

Convair 'fire-bomber' flies into retirement

Canada’s BC Aviation Museum experienced a first on September 23 – the simultaneous retirement to the museum of both an aircraft and its pilot

Feature Premium

Flying a Spitfire: An unexpected journey

FlyPast’s James Peene and Jamie Ewan enjoyed the ride of a lifetime when they visited Aerial Collective – a flight in a Spitfire…

Battle of Britain Bunker to host author’s 50th book launch

Special event will celebrate a lifetime of dedication and commitment to recording and sharing history

Museum seeks support to boost Jetstream project

Thanks to previous donations earlier this year, Sywell Aviation Museum is making great progress in the restoration of 1969-built Handley Page Jetstream G-RAVL

Phantom completed for memorial display

Atlanta-based company Ponsford has completed refurbishment work on McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom 67-0438, which was recently installed at the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park...

French Norécrin makes first flight in decades

Nord 1203 Norécrin F-PHPK made a successful return to the air earlier this year from Colmar-Houssen in Alsace, France...

Feature Premium

Hell on high ground - what happened to RB-29A 44-61999 'Over Exposed'?

Jamie Ewan trekked across Bleaklow Moor in  Derbyshire’s High Peaks to visit the final resting place of a Boeing RB-29A Superfortress. But what happened on a fateful day in 1948?

Historic Aviation Quiz: British Aircraft Recognition

How good is your aircraft recognition? Can you recognise these British types?

Feature Premium

What's life without a Bird Dog?

Emerging from restoration in late 2021, a stunning Cessna Bird Dog joined the UK circuit and has already picked up a prestigious award at Goodwood. Darren Harbar goes air-to-air with the Vietnam war specialist aircraft...

News Premium

Portuguese Air Force F-86 Sabre

On September 18, 2022 at Monte Real AB annual open gates day, a newly restored F-86F Sabre was presented in silver with red nose, wing and tail tips, as per the colour scheme of the short-lived Esquadra 52 “Galos” (Roosters)…  

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.