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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Aeroplane Datafile: Me 163 Komet

Despite being selected for Me 163 pilot training, Josef Kurz never got to fly the type under rocket power before the war ended. Much later, having become a very seasoned gliding exponent, he decided to build an airworthy Komet replica...

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A very special Tiger Moth

More than 3,400 Tiger Moths were turned out by the Morris Motors factory at Cowley in Oxford during wartime. Many still survive. But few, if any, can quite boast the background of David Cyster’s example...

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The amazing story of maverick siblings Luis and Ruth Fontés

Luis and Ruth Fontés, brother and sister, hit the headlines for their motorsport and air racing exploits during the 1930s — and not always for the right reasons...

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The Me 163 in service

The Komet’s combat career was brief, but deadly — for both sides. Aeroplane delves into the service life of the Me 163

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The Illustrious 500 Squadron

Engaged in the Operation ‘Torch’ landings and anti-U-boat patrols in the Mediterranean, No 500 Squadron’s efforts with the Lockheed Hudson added considerably to this auxiliary unit’s already illustrious reputation

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The rise and fall of the Semiquaver

Shortly after the trans-Atlantic episode, Martinsyde drafted a new machine, this time a racing aeroplane...

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The Last Lightning Show

RAF Binbrook’s final public salute to the service’s most dramatic jet fighter proved a virtual wash-out, but who cared?

Hurricane 501’s training duo: the Hurricane I itself and Harvard IV Wacky Wabbit, being flown by Neil Oakman and Andy Goodall respectively. Feature Premium

HURRICANE SCHOOL

Ever wondered how it's possible to sustain a private warbird operation long into the future, and provide a flow of new pilots to fly it safely? The operators of Battle of Britain veteran Hawker Hurricane I V7497 believe they have the answer

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de Havilland Mosquito: a race for the Bendix Trophy

In the brave new post-war world of the cross-country Bendix Trophy air race, surely the rapid and reliable de Havilland Mosquito would offer competitors a winning combination? Not so...

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The pro's and cons of the Me 163

No-one was in any doubt as to the Me 163’s exceptionally dangerous characteristics...

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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