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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Latest BBMF boss Sqn Ldr Mark ‘Suggs’ Sugden Interview – Part 2

In the second part of our interview with Squadron Leader Mark ‘Suggs’ Sugden, James Peene asks the current officer in charge of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight about what lies in store for 2022

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The daring Vietnam Jolly Green Giant Phantom crewman rescue

After F-4 Phantom crewman Roger Locher was shot down in Vietnam, a Jolly Green Giant made one of the most audacious rescues in USAF history. Thomas McKelvey Cleaver investigates

Tempest memorial panels installed at Newchurch

An eye-catching pair of glass panels have been added to the memorial site of the Advanced Landing Ground at Newchurch, Kent.

Long-nosed Canberra B.6 (mod) XH568 – one of the ‘raspberry ripple’ fleet on offer. All photos FlyPast – Duncan Cubitt Feature Premium

MoD Cold War Aircraft Sale

In 1993 the UK MoD held an auction to sell off some interesting aircraft types and not surprisingly there was plenty of interest from potential buyers, as detailed in the September issue of FlyPast

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How the Grumman Hellcat proved to be a powerful weapon

The Grumman Hellcat was among the US Navy’s principal World War Two combat aircraft. Malcolm V Lowe tells the story of this fighter, which turned out to be a powerful weapon

Fresh new livery for Navy Wings Harvard 

Navy Wings’ Canadian Car & Foundry-built Harvard Mk.IV has been repainted in a distinctive, ‘corporate’ colour scheme.

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Argentine and German museums collaborate on Ju 52 project

Argentina’s Museo Nacional de Aeronáutica (MNA) has received a boost in its bid to restore Junkers Ju 52/3mge 4043, an aircraft that once served the Argentine Air Force (FAA) as T-158. 

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Restoration report: Curtiss Kittyhawk pulled from Russian lake

Pulled from a Russian lake in 1997, a Curtiss Kittyhawk has returned to the sky over New Zealand. Gavin Conroy reports on the lengthy restoration of this combat veteran

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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D-Day Douglas C-47A for Boscombe Down Aviation Collection

In mid-March 2022, the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection (BDAC) at Old Sarum in Salisbury took delivery of the surviving nose section of Douglas C-47A-25-DK 42-93510.

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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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