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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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...

Sub. Lieut. Boas lifts Wessex “300” off the pad at Culdrose for a practice sortie. Feature Premium

Wessex – the beginning of a legend

The Royal Navy operated numerous versions of the Wessex and ‘The Aeroplane and Astronautics’ was there to cover the helicopter’s early days with the Fleet Air Arm with this report from the October 5, 1961 issue

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The kamikaze pilot whose family sacrificed themselves for his career 

One of seven children, Hajime Fujii was a fiercely determined individual who reflected the Japanese ethos in World War Two. So shocking was his story that it remained a government held secret for decades… 

The fuselage of the B-36 is almost completely circular in section. Points of interest include the radar scanner behind the steerable nosewheel unit, the offset bomb-aiming panel, and nose cannon. All "Aeroplane" photographs Feature Premium

10-engine US Bomber’s 1951 UK debut

The first arrival in the UK of the USAF’s gargantuan Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber was covered by ‘The Aeroplane’ 70 years ago, with the reporter suitably impressed

Fuel can be jettisoned from the wing-tip tanks instead of dropping the tanks. All “Aeroplane” photographs Feature Premium

Fleet Air Arm Sea Venom insights from 1954

An interesting report on the Royal Navy’s first Sea Venom squadron during its work-up at RNAS Yeovilton, as featured in the July 23, 1954 issue of ‘The Aeroplane’

FlyPast Podcast Episode 38

For this episode we're talking to Luke Slaney-Hewitt, Researcher for Airfix / Hornby Hobbies Limited, about model making and their full-size Hawker Hunter restoration project...

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The story of BOAC’s ‘Ball-bearing Run' missions

Between 1943 to 1945, a number of de Havilland Mosquitos were operated by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) to carry vital supplies of cargo from Sweden to Britain

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The jet-powered flying boat that was a nuclear bomber

Before submarines took on a strategic nuclear missile role, the US Navy sought to use jet-powered flying boats to carry nuclear weapons. In 1955, The Aeroplane revealed the first photos of this new concept

Historic Aviation Quiz

Test your historic aviation knowledge in this instalment of the weekly quiz... it's fiendishly tricky!

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Inside the Afghan airlift of 1928-’29

The recent extensive evacuation from Afghanistan was not the first such event from Kabul. As Vic Flintham explains, the earlier airlift by the RAF alone took place some 93 years ago...

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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