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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Historic Aviation Quiz

It's the last quiz of the month and you know what that means... it's a real head scratcher!

On the O.R.P. at Horsham St. Faith, Javelins of Nos. 141 and 23 Squadrons are positioned and plugged-in to the telebrief for the next scramble. Feature Premium

Revealing 1950s Fighter Command Exercise Report

A fascinating article on a 1957 UK air defence exercise which focused on countering a massed attack on the first day of a conflict from The Aeroplane’s June 7 issue

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Farnborough: what makes it the aviation capital of the UK? Part 2

The two world wars and the period in between them proved to be crucial years in early aviation. Farnborough has become known internationally as the home of British military aviation, having been right in the centre of everything for over a century

Canadian Pacific Air Lines Britannia at Vancouver. Feature Premium

Flying Transatlantic on the Whispering Giant

Prior to the Britannia, nicknamed the Whispering Giant, entering service with Canadian Pacific Air Lines the esteemed F. G. Swanborough was invited to experience flying on this propliner from the UK to Vancouver to attend the opening of a new hangar for the type. He also took the opportunity while there to report on the civil aviation scene in western Canada for his article that appeared in the March 7, 1958 issue of The Aeroplane

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The Witching Hour: Russia's Night Witches

Driven by thirst for revenge, Russia’s fearless all-female bomber regiment cast a deadly spell over its Nazi prey, as Tara Leggett relates...

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Phil Makanna is Lord of The Skies

For more than 45 years, Phil Makanna has been capturing incredible images of aircraft in flight. It’s a passion that has seen him photograph an unrivalled range of rare, exotic and historic models spanning the entire history of flight...

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A History of Aircraft Carriers

Aviation at sea: Chris Croot continues his delve into aircraft carrier history, covering the Korean War and Vietnam conflicts

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Hawker Hunter at 70

On the 70th anniversary of its first flight, Bertie Simmonds reflects how the graceful, elegant and deadly Hawker Hunter was the greatest aircraft to come from the pen of Sir Sydney Camm

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The Lightning & The Swallow

Donald Nijboer reveals the fascinating World War Two fight for air superiority over New Guinea and Rabaul

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Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar: Inside the Spitfire Workshop

With numerous projects on the go, the Heritage Hangar at Biggin Hill is always bustling with activity. Darren Harbar visited the former Battle of Britain airfield to see how plans are progressing…

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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