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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How Bristol’s second Britannia nearly met its end

The second prototype Bristol Britannia met an ignominious end, sitting on the Severn mudflats, repeatedly being submerged by the tide before it could be salvaged. But the outcome of a major engine problem could have been far worse

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Hercules pair destined for Swedish museum display

After years kept in storage, a pair of former Swedish Air Force Hercules fuselages have been returned to Sweden

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Faster and faster – the impact of speed on military aircraft

We examine the impact of speed on military aircraft through history – travelling faster isn’t as straightforward as you might have thought…

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How the Airacobra saved Guadalcanal

In this adaption from his book ‘The Cactus Air Force’, co-author Thomas McKelvey Cleaver reveals how the P-39 came to play such a pivotal role over Guadalcanal

Revealed - memorial to Battle of Britain legend

The Czechoslovak ace Sgt Josef František who flew with 303 (Polish) Squadron during the Battle of Britain has been honoured with a memorial unveiled on September 4 close to where he lost his life on October 8, 1940

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Meet the man with one of the world's largest warbird collections

A chance encounter with one historic aeroplane, eventually led Jerry Yagen to develop one of the world’s leading warbird fleets. Ben Dunnell speaks to the aircraft collector to find out more

Join the debate: what should happen to Vulcan XH558?

In his latest editorial, Aeroplane editor Ben Dunnell weighs up the future prospects for what was the last flying ‘V-bomber’ — and asks whether the fate of Canberra WK163 isn’t more important

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Why the BAe 146 Side-Loading Tactical Airlifter failed

It looked the part, but the Side-Loading Tactical Airlifter version of the BAe 146 hardly saw customers beating a path to British Aerospace’s door. Ben Dunnell explains why, despite being an attractive package, the STA lead nowhere

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Bobcat completes long journey to new home in Europe

Cessna T-50 Bobcat N60453 has been acquired by Flieger-Stadl e.V. of Landshut, Germany and recently completed an epic transit from the US to its new home

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Twenty year Tiger Moth project completed

De Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth ‘17’ (3619) has been returned to static display condition in Uruguay

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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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