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.

Fw189 needs new project custodian

The Restoration Hangar has been home to a secret project for the past few years… and now the project needs a new custodian

CSA Tu-104 Feature Premium

Revealing report from on-board the USSR’s first jetliner

Read an account from the April 4, 1958 issue of The Aeroplane aboard a CSA Tupolev Tu-104A

Historic Aviation Quiz

On 28 July 1914, World War I began. Today's historic aviation quiz tests your knowledge of early WWI aviation

DOCUMENTARY: How World War One changed aviation forever

From reconnaissance to aerial combat, watch how 1914-’18 saw a seismic shift in the use of fledgling aeroplane technology in conflict

Avro Vulcan to wow spectators again

Tickets are available now to watch Vulcan XL426 on 11th September at London Southend Airport

The dual-control Canberra T. Mk. 4 which is to be used for Operational Conversion. Feature Premium

Behind the Scenes of the Canberra OCU in 1952

An interesting visit to the RAF’s Canberra training unit, from the September 5, 1952 issue of The Aeroplane, to see how the Service was going about preparing crews for this then new jet bomber

Behind the scenes on the Battle of Britain film

John Preece and Peter Arnold recall some anecdotes from the set…

The coolest piece of Battle of Britain film memorabilia ever…

John Preece still has an incredible keepsake from a summer of filming with Michael Caine & Co in 1968

Salisbury Rugby Club celebrates the Spitfire

A rugby club in Wiltshire has erected a replica of the Spitfire to honour the people of Salisbury who manufactured the iconic aeroplane in secret

An RCAF Argus Feature Premium

Britannia to Argus Sub-hunter

A report from the August 21, 1959 issue of The Aeroplane and Aeronautics on the changes made to the Bristol Britannia to turn it into the Argus maritime patrol aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force

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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