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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Hawkinge museum unveils new Battle of Britain sculpture

The Kent Battle of Britain Museum has re-created a famous photograph from the summer of 1940

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Combat veteran Spitfire flies in UK

Supermarine Spitfire FRXIVe RM927 has made its first flight for 70 years

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It’s the best glider museum in the world — and it’s in Britain

The superb Gliding Heritage Centre at Lasham traces the story of silent flight in the UK and beyond

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Aviation News September 2022

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Historic Aviation Quiz - Eighth Air Force edition

Test your knowledge in our historic aviation quiz - Eighth Air Force edition

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When RAF Canberras surveyed the Yemen

When the RAF was tasked with a survey of North Yemen, it fell to No 13 Squadron and its Canberra PR9s to do the honours. Operation ‘Hayrack’ was the dusty desert deployment that resulted

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Aeroplane September 2022

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How I learned to fly, RAF-style

Any pilot will tell you that the process of learning never stops. For many an air force recruit, those days began at the RAF College Cranwell, just as they did in the 1950s for this then-new trainee, taking him right the way through from Tiger Moth to Vampire

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Inside the first days of the Iran-Iraq War

In this extract from his new book, Flashpoints, Michael Napier outlines the first nine days of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war

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The fascinating story of Rolls-Royce’s Universal Power Plant

Concluding his examination of Hucknall’s Flight Test Establishment, Nigel Gibson opens his father Colin’s scrapbooks and photo albums to reveal the intriguing tale of Rolls-Royce’s Universal Power Plant

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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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