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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The Maurice Farman S7 Longhorn reproduction, being built for a private owner, dominates the Flying Restorations hangar. The DH2 and DH53 are visible at rear. All photos Darren Harbar Feature Premium

EXCLUSIVE! Legendary World War One aircraft resurrected

With reproductions of both a Maurice Farman Longhorn and an Airco DH2 set to emerge from its Old Warden premises, Flying Restorations is building on its reputation for top-notch workmanship when it comes to antique aeroplanes

Having achieved what some considered impossible, Comet 4 XV814 approaches to land back at Farnborough in August 1992 after its global circumnavigation. VIA ROGER BEAZLEY Feature Premium

Round the World in a Comet in 1992

Some said it couldn’t be done — that this old aircraft would fail somewhere along the way. However, the Defence Research Agency’s Comet 4 XV814 defied the doubters and, in the summer of 1992, made it round the world. The then head of experimental flying at Farnborough recalled a memorable trip in the May 2016 issue of ‘Aeroplane’

A presentation in front of the two Comets at Hatfield. From left to right: A&AEE public relations officer Sqn Ldr John Taylor, DH88 project co-ordinator Ron Paine, BAe Hatfield general manager Tony Saint, A&AEE Mission Systems Division superintendant Brian Close, and pilots Stewart Waring and Sqn Ldr Mic Edwards. ADRIAN M. BALCH Feature Premium

Meeting of the Comets

Only once did the two Comets, DH88 and DH106, fly together — and it was 30 years ago this year

Comet under construction. Feature Premium

First ever colour photos of the Comet

‘The Aeroplane’ scored a world exclusive when it published the first colour photos of the Comet in its July 29, 1949 issue. The piece also explored the design of this revolutionary aircraft

A tidy and relatively simple control cabin layout is especially essential in the case of a jet transport, in which, at critical stages of a flight, a great deal must be done in a short time. This more restful occasion in the Comet's control cabin was pictured while Capt. A. M. A. Majendie, M.A., was pointing out the features to Lord Ogmore, lately Minister of Civil Aviation. Capt. Majendie has done a greater part of the flying and operational development work for the Comet Unit. ‘Aeroplane’ photograph Feature Premium

BOAC Comet Captain insights

CAPT. M. R. ALDERSON, who was in charge of B.O.A.C.’s Comet unit, spoke to H. A. TAYLOR for the January 11, 1952 issue of ‘The Aeroplane’ and gave an outline of some of the more interesting features in jet transport operation after six months of preliminary route-proving trials

RESEARCH – AND DEVELOPMENT – During the early days of the Comet’s design history, consideration was given to the claims of the tailless, swept-back layout. Some valuable practical experience in this direction was obtained with the D.H.108 which was specially built for research into this problem. Here is the Comet on the day of its first flight, with the D.H.108. Feature Premium

Comet creator – insights from de Havilland’s chief designer

The man who designed the revolutionary Comet jetliner, R E Bishop, wrote this exclusive article for ‘The Aeroplane’ which was published the same day as the aircraft’s first commercial service on May 2, 1952

BBMF Hawker Hurricane returns home

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Hawker Hurricane IIc LF363 arrived back at its Coningsby base in the hands of Sqn Ldr Mark Sugden, officer commanding the BBMF, on April 21 following a ‘major’ overhaul in the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.

New Tiger Moth for Finest Hour Experiences

The latest addition to Bicester-based Finest Hour Experiences’ fleet, DH82A Tiger Moth R5172/G-AOIS arrived at the Oxfordshire airfield on April 17.

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Delta Disaster: Fatal RAF Vulcan Heathrow crash

A record-breaking flight by a Vulcan turned into tragedy when a landing went wrong. Andrew Brookes recounts the events of that fateful day

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Mosquito rolled out at de Havilland Aircraft Museum

Forty-four years after the fuselage arrived at London Colney from the Netherlands, Mosquito FBVI TA122 was rolled out at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum on Easter Sunday, April 17, as its epic restoration enters its closing stages.

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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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