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 Douglas C-47 “Placid Lassie" to offer cockpit tours at Warbirds Over the Beach Air Show

The Military Aviation Museum Tunison Foundation's C-47 “Placid Lassie" will be open for air show attendees to climb aboard and tour with the crew members of the Tunison Foundation, D-Day Squadron and DC-3 Society

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FlyPast November 2021

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY. – When the helicopter returns to Peterborough some of the mail is taken to the railway station and some to the post office for local distribution. A small quantity of mail is carried in the rear compartment, shown open in this photograph. All “Aeroplane” photographs Feature Premium

Revolutionary 1949 BEA Helicopter Mail Trial

A fascinating piece in ‘The Aeroplane’ on a trial by BEA for the Post Office in 1949 using helicopters to carry mail

A SOUTHLAND AGGRESSOR. – One of the U.S.A.F.’s B-29 Superfortress which attempted to penetrate the defences. A representative of THE AEROPLANE flew in one of these aircraft during the exercise. Feature Premium

‘Bombing’ England aboard a B-29 Superfortress

‘The Aeroplane’ was invited to witness an air defence exercise from a USAF B-29 Superfortress, with the report appearing in its September 10, 1948 issue

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Bomber Command's 15 Best Aircraft, revealed and rated (but do you agree?)

Numerous types served RAF Bomber Command during World War Two. We summarise the 15 ‘best’ bombers at the RAF’s disposal, and compare the statistics of individual models...

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1961 Belvedere Rotary Revolution for the RAF

The heavy-lift capabilities of the RAF’s then new Belvedere helicopter were demonstrated at RAF Odiham with ‘The Aeroplane and Astronautics’ reporting on the event in the November 16, 1961 issue

FlyPast Picture of the Week

This week's Picture of the Week is by Ian Amis

FlyPast Podcast Episode 39

For this episode we're talking to Nicky van der Drift, the Chief Executive at Lincolnshire's International Bomber Command Centre.

Historic Aviation Quiz

What will you score this week?

Dates and prices announced for Visit the Vulcan Day, Southend

London Southend Airport is home to the preservation effort of Avro Vulcan XL426. Now, you can see the former Royal Air Force bomber up close at their Visit the Vulcan Day, and even have the opportunity to climb inside the cockpit...

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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