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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1949 UK Stratocruiser Debut

An interesting report on the first visit of a Boeing Stratocruiser to the UK, as reported in the April 15, 1949 issue of ‘The Aeroplane’

FlyPast Picture of the Week

This week's picture of the week was taken by Daniel Butcher

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Swissair - Goodbye Metropolitan, Hello DC-9

The arrival of the DC-9 with Swissair meant the days of its last propliner were numbered, although as revealed in the August 25, 1966 issue of ‘Aeroplane’ there were some unexpected complications...

FlyPast Podcast Episode 40

For this episode were joined by Andrew Panton of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre to talk about East Kirkby and Lancaster NK611 Just Jane...

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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The Inside Story of Squadron Leader Jack Currie DFC

Pilot, leader, artist, actor, presenter, author – Sqn Ldr Jack Currie could turn his hand to almost anything...

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The Nose Art of the Flying Tigers P-40s

Shark-mouth nose-art has been around since World War One, but the Flying Tigers’ P-40s arguably introduced it to popular culture. Shawn Jakway recounts the origins of the Tigers and the history of this particular Warhawk...

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The Brit-built fighters that never flew

Now known its for state-of-the-art ejection seats, from 1934-1944 the Martin-Baker Aircraft Co built fighter aircraft

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The birth of the Wellington

Ken Ellis celebrates the birth of the Wellington and the genius of designer Barnes Wallis, while Andrew Thomas documents the type in service

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Bomber Command's Finest Five

You may have seen our top 10 Bomber Command aircraft feature earlier in the week. Wondering what came in the top spots? We summarise the final five ‘best’ bombers at the RAF’s disposal and compare the statistics of individual models

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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