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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“A FANTASTIC MACHINE”

Lightweight, two-seat, de-riggable with a low cantilever wing and a small, technologically advanced, motor giving a very economical cruise for five or more hours. You’d be forgiven for thinking I was describing a modern microlight or very light aircraft...

Historic aviation quiz: Novel edition

Think you know your classic aviation novels and their authors? Have a go at this week's historic aviation quiz to find out

Amelia Earhart Feature Premium

On this day: Amelia Earhart claims a new record

On this day, January 12 1935, Amelia Earhart touched down at Oakland Airport, California, making her the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to mainland USA.

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Captain W.E. Johns: Biggles

What’s in a name? Come on, be honest now, how many of you reading this have been put off from reading any of the works by Captain W.E. Johns because his eponymous hero, Biggles sounds a bit, well, silly?

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Aviation News February 2022

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

Yak cockpit Feature Premium

New home sought for Yak-9 reproduction

Yakovlev Yak-9U-M N6388U Ol Snort has been listed for sale in the US via Courtesy Aircraft

Basically a military aircraft – but the “fighter pilot mentality” is discouraged. Feature Premium

When Alitalia used fighter jet trainers to teach its student pilots

In an unusual move in the 1960s Alitalia used military jet trainers to teach its students pilots. ‘The Aeroplane and Commercial Aviation News’ described this unusual training syllabus in its January 9, 1964 issue

IWM Lancaster News Premium

Imperial War Museum Live

Veterans and historic objects will be brought together with expert talks by curators and leading authors as Imperial War Museums launches first ever IWM Live event in 2022…

FlyPast Picture of the Week

This week's Picture of the Week was taken by Steve Tugwell

James Stewart during a nostalgic return to his old base at Tibenham, Norfolk, in June 1975, photographed by TERRY FINCHER, Photographers International Feature Premium

Hollywood icon with a lifelong passion for flight

James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart is well-known for his acting career and also for flying bomber missions over Europe in World War Two. ‘Aeroplane Monthly’ accompanied him on a visit to his former wartime base and looked back over his lifelong love of aviation in its October 1979 issue

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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