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 Republic F-84G Thunderjet over Angola

The Republic F-84G Thunderjet was hardly in the first flush of youth by the time the Portuguese Air Force decided to employ it during the colonial conflict in Angola, but it filled an important gap 

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Meeting Des Nations

A special 1958 show at Liège-Bierset was among the greatest gatherings of NATO air power

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EXCLUSIVE: Spitfires MH415 and MH434

Reuniting a pair of Spitfire IXs that flew and fought together on the same wartime RAF squadron — and went on to have remarkably interconnected lives in peacetime, too

FlyPast Picture of the Week

This week's Picture of the Week was captured by Callum Steele Wyman at the Battle of Britain airshow, IWM Duxford 2021

FlyPast Podcast Episode 50

For this episode, we’ve assembled the FlyPast’s editorial team to talk about the new look and content of the magazine and to explain the thought process behind it all...

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Spitfire Saviours of Cogea Nouvelle

COGEA Nouvelle is well-known for having operated six Spitfire IXs from the late 1950s to the early ’60s — all but one survive today. But what was this Belgian company, and why did it buy Spitfires?

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The most successful fighter ace of all time

Names such as Manfred Von Richthofen, Herman Graf and Adolf Galland have ricocheted through the decades, each acting as a longstanding reminder of their owner’s achievements. Another such name that time cannot surpass is that of Erich Hartmann, who is arguably better known than any

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The Vulcan Challenge: New for '22

Soar into the new year with the Royal Air Force Museum’s Vulcan Challenge, and walk, run, or cycle your way to reach the 100km, 250km or even 500km distance! The Challenge commences on Friday 14 January and advance registrations are now open…

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Battle of Britain's Big Screen 'Spits

With the addition to the world’s airworthy Spitfire fleet of MH415, another Battle of Britain film veteran is operational again. But what of the other ‘Spits’ that appeared in the 1969 epic? Aeroplane lists their present-day whereabouts, or fates

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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