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.

Feature Premium

IN FROM THE COLD

WORKSHOPOne of the most remarkable vintage aeroplane restorations...

Feature Premium

AUSTIN’S MAESTROS: FILLING THE PRODUCTION GAP

Workers at the Marston Green factory pose in front of the final...

Feature Premium

DE HAVILLAND CANADA CHIPMUNK

DATABASEDEVELOPMENT“A trainer in a great tradition”, said...

Feature Premium

The SANDS of TIME

The decision on London’s third airport occupied the minds of...

News Premium

NZ Warbirds gets Canberra

English Electric Canberra B(I)8 WT346 arrived at the New Zealand Warbirds Association hangar at Ardmore, just south of Auckland, on 20 February following a 750-mile road trip north from Christchurch.

Feature Premium

What was the RAF’s Exercise ‘Northern Venture’?

In 1997 the RAF’s Exercise ‘Northern Venture’ recognised the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the DHC-1 with a round-the world tour. An attempt to complete the exercise in 1996, the actual year of the 50th anniversary, had been obliged to turn back for reasons beyond its control...

Feature Premium

Lockheed 12A UK-bound

Lockheed 12A Electra Junior NC25628, seen at Oshkosh in 2016,...

Feature Premium

Slingsby SE5a to fly soon

PROJECT UPDATE At Sywell Aerodrome, Northamptonshire,...

Feature Premium

How the end came for the Junkers Ju 52

The Junkers Ju 52/3m had formed the backbone of the Deutsche Lufthansa fleet since 1932. When war broke out, the German flag-carrier had to put itself at the disposal of the Reich, but despite the loss of many aircraft it still operated a reduced network with the tri-motors at its core — until, in 1945, the end became inevitable...

Why history's biggest helicopter was never more than a prototype

Was it a rare case of quality over quantity? Or was it simply a design that was too big to be realistic? The Mil V-12 never made it past the prototype stage and we want to know why...

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

Subscribe to Key.Aero

Become a part of our aviation community and subscribe to Key.Aero now. You can get all the aviation information you'll ever need, whenever you want, with access to all the latest aviation updates, news, events and more.