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.

An RCAF Argus Feature Premium

Britannia to Argus Sub-hunter

A report from the August 21, 1959 issue of The Aeroplane and Aeronautics on the changes made to the Bristol Britannia to turn it into the Argus maritime patrol aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force

FlyPast Podcast Episode 31

Episode 31 is a group effort as the FlyPast editorial team discuss the late, Squadron Leader Goodman, his involvement with 617 squadron and the enduring legacy of their missions, namely the famous raid on the dams for Operation Chastise....

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6 interesting things that happened on this day in aviation history

Find out how P-38Fs, Wiley Post and the world's youngest pilot to fly around the world all have July 22 in common

An F-86D-50-NA of the 513th Fighter Interception Squadron at Manston. Note the many vortex generators, including those on one of the NACA flush intakes for tailpipe cooling. All “Aeroplane” photographs Feature Premium

Revealing Insights into UK-based USAF F-86D Sabres

A detailed report on the new capabilities provided by the F-86D from the April 22, 1955 issue of The Aeroplane

Historic Aviation Quiz

Have a go at this week's historic aviation quiz! What will you score?

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FlyPast September 2021

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

Introducing World War Two’s only female fighter aces 

Within the realms of Marina Raskova’s three female fighter regiments, two pilots took their duties to the next level. Read part one of their incredible stories

“Michael Caine wanted to know what it was like to be an RAF pilot”

For John Preece and his fellow Battle of Britain film pilots, mixing with stars like Caine and Susannah York on set was a fascinating experience…

Lawrence 'Benny' Goodman passes away aged 100

The 100 year old veteran flew operations for 617 Squadron in World War Two and more recently became the advocate of a project to end anti-Semitism

“How I filmed Battle of Britain scenes from inside a Spitfire”

John Preece got more than he bargained for when he was chosen to be a pilot in the most iconic historic aviation film ever made

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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