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.

A droop-nosed Concorde lines up ready for take-off at Fairford. Below, a take-off from Heathrow. Note the small, twin-wheeled tail bumper beneath the rear fuselage. Feature Premium

Read one of the first ever Concorde flight reports

This is how the legendary Bill Gunston described his 3.5-hr flight from London to Tehran in Concorde G-BBDG back in 1976

FlyPast Podcast Episode 21

With museums set to open next week, the team discuss their favourites - and the aeroplanes on display you HAVE to see if you've missed them...

VIDEO: Blackbird pilot recalls most memorable mission

Colonel Richard Graham (ret’d) was an SR-71 Blackbird pilot, Squadron Commander and Wing Commander. Watch as he recalls one particular flight out of RAF Mildenhall…

Historic Aviation Quiz

Can you identify the tail sections of these historic aircraft?

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Read a Meteor flight test from 1951

The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and saw action during World War Two. The design was developed, including the F.8 variant which was flight tested by The Aeroplane 70 years ago…

One kill away from ace status… but up against 50 MiGs

"That was my bag for the day, and it made me feel pretty good to know that I was the first jet ace in the history of aerial warfare”

Win a Tiger Moth flight scholarship!

Young people with a proven passion for aviation have the chance to learn to fly in a historic de Havilland Tiger Moth...

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Aviation News June 2021

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

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The Historic Aviation 5-a-day

The de Havilland Heron flew for the first time on May 10, 1950. Here are a selection of photos from the Key archive

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“I’m going to hit him with my plane…”

Normally the sign of ice build-up on an aeroplane can be a disastrous discovery… in this case, it was the pilot’s saving grace, and earned him the Naval Cross as well

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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