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 F-111’s disastrous operational debut in Vietnam

The revolutionary F-111 had a disastrous operational debut in Vietnam. Warren E Thompson describes the baptism that nearly became a requiem

Points of interest on this Mil Mi 1T, in which the author made his flight at Tushino aerodrome, include the under-boom aerials for the radio altimeter and the small adjustable stabilizer. Photographs copyright “The Aeroplane” Feature Premium

First Westerner to fly in a Russian helicopter

On a visit to the Soviet Union in 1956 ‘The Aeroplane’s’ John Fricker was privileged to be the first Westerner to be invited to fly in a Russian helicopter. His report on the flight appeared in the August 17, 1956 issue

Red Arrows Hawk arrives at St Athan

On April 22, a full 43 years after it entered RAF service, the South Wales Aviation Museum at St Athan took delivery of former Red Arrows BAe Hawk T1A XX263 from Cardiff University’s School of Engineering.

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The incredible experience of flying in a Bell UH-1 Huey in the UK

Did you know you can fly in a Bell UH-1 Huey right here in the UK? James Peene was fortunate enough to experience this Vietnam combat veteran up close and personal

Vintage Wings Hawker Hurricane flies

On April 23 at Ottawa-Gatineau Executive Airport, Ontario, Dave Hadfield took Vintage Wings of Canada’s Hawker Hurricane XII RCAF 5447/CF-TPM up for a first test flight, 15 years after work to put the Canadian Car and Foundry-built fighter back into the air began.

Huey 509: The iconic Bell UH-1

Did you know you can fly in Bell UH-1 Huey right here in the UK? FlyPast recently took a spin this Vietnam combat veteran and this is how they got on…

Historic Aviation Quiz

Test your knowledge of Historic Aviation with this week's quiz! Let us know what score you get!

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The perilous role of air-to-air ramming aircraft

Deliberately flying into an enemy aircraft might seem like desperation, but the tactic dates back to the earliest days of military aviation. Malcolm V Lowe examines this aspect of air combat

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Early wartime adventures of No 330 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF

The first Free Norwegian squadron in the RAF found itself thrown in at the deep end – almost literally – flying cumbersome Northrop floatplanes from Iceland. Their early wartime adventures are recounted by Andrew Thomas

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RAF Canberras and a 24,000-mile Latin American tour

In 1952, four Royal Air Force Canberras performed a goodwill tour of Latin America – becoming the first jets to fly over most of the continent, reveals Santiago Rivas

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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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