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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The Avro Vulcan Unveiled

Steve Beebee revisits the origins of the Avro Vulcan and profiles a few of the significant figures behind the legendary bomber’s design

Get involved with Aero Legends' new Spitfire Restoration

Aero Legends has launched an experience package enabling you to witness first hand all the great milestones throughout the restoration of their Spitfire MJ444

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BEA Elizabethan ‘Silver Wing’ Luxury Service

‘The Aeroplane’ was invited to sample ‘Silver Wing’, a new BEA luxury service to Paris, and in its May 9, 1952 issue gave its impressions as well as that of the Elizabethan aircraft utilised

FlyPast Podcast Episode 48

For this episode of the FlyPast podcast we’re joined by Jeff Skillman the treasurer of the RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre...

FlyPast Picture of the Week

This week's Picture of the Week was captured by Joe Summerhill

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Harry Hawker one hundred years on

It’s just over 100 years since Australian pioneer Harry Hawker lost his life in a tragic accident. Ken Ellis pays tribute to an exceptional aviator

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First flight beckons for Australian Spitfire

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX MH603 is expected to make its first post-restoration flight from Scone, New South Wales after extensive refurbishment from Vintage Fighter Restorations. The immaculate warbird is now also available to purchase via Platinum Fighter Sales

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Unseen colour photos of pre-1950 British Civil Aircraft

A fantastic new book, British Aviation: The First Half-Century contains 170 fabulously colourised images of pre-1950 British aircraft. Here's a selection of some known and some less well-known civil aircraft from the golden age of British aviation.

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HFB 320: The bizarre bizjet with backward wings

The Hansa Jet had an unusual design with forward-swept wings, which gave a number of benefits including a more spacious cabin due to the wing spar being further back. The April 8, 1965 issue of ‘The Aeroplane and Commercial Aviation News’ covered the bizjet’s first visit to the UK

Historic aviation quiz

Try your hand at this week's exceptionally difficult historic aviation quiz!

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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