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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(Tiger) Nine Lives

There are two nine-ship display acts on the British circuit — one the Red Arrows, the other the Tiger Nine. We joined the Tiger Moth-equipped outfit, and discovered an operation just as professional as its military counterpart

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Italo Balbo's epic Brazilian flight

Today the name Balbo is synonymous with large formation flights. In late 1930 and early 1931, from Italy to Brazil, there took place the first of the aerial voyages that made it so...

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Aeroplane October 2021

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

Historic aviation quiz

Test yourself with this week's tricky historic quiz

A Canadair Sabre 6 of No. 441 Sqn., R.C.A.F., seen approaching the top of a loop, with the automatic slats extended as the minimum airspeed is reached. With CF-100s, these Canadian fighters are on continual “Zulu” alert in Europe. Photograph copyright “The Aeroplane” Feature Premium

Sensational Sabre 6 Scrutinsed

The June 14, 1957 issue of The Aeroplane featured a report on the latest version of the Sabre, which was populating Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons deployed in Europe

Tally Ho Project launches patron's scheme!

The Tally Ho Project aims to teach younger generations lessons of courage, resilience, duty and unity through the stories of those who served through the Battle of Britain... and now, the project is asking for your support!

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Canberra Controversy

The Canberra’s first participation in a UK air defence exercise led to wildly different claims in the press about how the bomber and defending fighters had performed. Read here the informative article from the October 24, 1952 issue of The Aeroplane on this landmark exercise

FlyPast Podcast Episode 36

For this episode, we're talking to Ian Flint, the CEO of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome near Maldon, in Essex...

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The historic aircraft designs that were too advanced for the future

One industrial designer's concepts seemed radical for the times, but they influenced contemporary aircraft designs from the B-2 Stealth bomber to the A-320 airliner...

Historic Aviation Quiz

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

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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