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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“I’m going to hit him with my plane…”

Normally the sign of ice build-up on an aeroplane can be a disastrous discovery… in this case, it was the pilot’s saving grace, and earned him the Naval Cross as well

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Unseen Luftwaffe reports from 1941

If you’ve ever wondered how aviation-related news was reported during World War Two, here’s the answer: the following article featured in The Aeroplane 80 years ago on May 9, 1941…

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Historic Aviation 5-a-day

A selection of photos from the Key archive

The incredible history of the Handley Page Hastings

One of the RAF’s most famous transport aircraft made its first flight 75 years ago today...

FlyPast Podcast Episode 20

Historic aviation author Jim Goodall dials in from California to discuss his new book on the Skunk Works, and some quite unbelievable SR-71 Blackbird stories...

The story of one of New Zealand’s most fortunate airmen

Alan Deere almost didn’t make selection for the RAF due to his high blood pressure. So when he kept cheating death again and again during World War Two, it was only fitting that his comrades should claim he had nine lives…

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Your Historic Aviation 5-a-day

We mark the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt which took place on May 6, 1941

Historic Aviation Quiz

We're back this week with yet another brain teasing historic aviation quiz!

How rock climbers help to keep museum aeroplanes clean

With museums set to reopen on May 17, the aircraft on display need to look their best. But how do you dust a plane that’s suspended from the ceiling? Watch this video to find out…

Happy 40th Birthday, FlyPast!

A few people from the historic aviation industry sent some birthday wishes to congratulate FlyPast on four decades of publishing!

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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