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.

FlyPast Podcast Episode 14

This week on the FlyPast Podcast, the team discuss historic aviation mysteries such as Flight 19, and the unsolved hijacking by the infamous DB Cooper...

The couple who spent eight years restoring a Nimrod simulator, part 2!

With one of only two Nimrod simulators ever built in their possession, the hunt was now on for Sarah Thorpe and Geremy Britton to find parts. It took years…

Historic aviation quiz

Here's this week's historic aviation quiz - it's a toughie!

Remembering the first flight of the F-10 Skyknight

It would never be as famous as the F-86 Sabre, but it will always be the only Korean War jet fighter that also flew in Vietnam. This is the Douglas F-10 Skyknight...

Brooklands Museum is the star of its own television series

A brand new UKTV Original Series dedicated to Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, is due to hit screens on Tuesday 30th March on Yesterday channel...

FlyPast Podcast Episode 13

This week on the FlyPast Podcast, we've done something different. This one was recorded socially distanced from inside the cockpit of Vulcan XH558, as we chatted to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust about the aircraft's story, and the Trust's exciting plans for the future...

The couple who spent eight years restoring a Nimrod simulator

Restorations are hard enough, but what about rebuilding one of only two Nimrod simulators ever built? In lockdown? With your other half? Key.Aero chats to the amazing couple who did just that…

Historic Aviation Quiz

Have a go at this week's historic aviation quiz!

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Five form a display team

With the intention of forming a display team using variants of the North American T-6 family, five pilots and their aeroplanes descended on Italy’s San Martino Gusnago – as Simone Bovi discovered...

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A century of Arctic flying

The Arctic gave aviators their first taste of polar operations and yielded many surprises, as Robin Evans reveals

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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