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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6 Epitomising the type’s low-level role, the last Vulcan built, B2 XM657, formates with a cameraship for a photo sortie. This aircraft was conversely the first to receive, in 1979, the new wrap-around camouflage. CROWN COPYRIGHT Feature Premium

End of the deterrent V-Force

As the 1960s drew on, times changed for the ‘V-force’. No more was it a triumvirate of types, and no longer was the strategic nuclear deterrent to the fore

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FlyPast December 2021

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

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Behind the scenes of a BOAC Boeing 707 delivery

In its December 9, 1960 issue ‘The Aeroplane and Astronautics’ described the process of testing and certification of a new Boeing 707 for BOAC. The author was also onboard the delivery flight from Seattle to London

Historic Aviation Quiz: Bomber Command (Part 3)

Try your Bomber Command knowledge out in this penultimate themed quiz!

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IN PICTURES: Rare colour photos of propliners at London airports in 1949

A selection of colour photos of airliners visiting London airports was published in the May 27, 1949 issue of ‘The Aeroplane’

FlyPast Picture of the Week

This week's Picture of the Week was captured by Joseph Evans

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A Valiant start to the V-Force

The Valiant nuclear bomber was the first aircraft used by the RAF as an in-flight refuelling tanker. The details of this and other developments with this V-bomber were detailed in the July 29, 1960 issue of ‘The Aeroplane and Astronautics’

Sculpture memorialises Stirling crews

A new sculpture has been unveiled during a memorial service for the crews of Short Stirling bombers BK710 and BK716

FlyPast Podcast Episode 43

For this episode, we're joined by Dave Gibson for a fascinating chat about World War Two airfields of Lincolnshire.

‘Draguar’ charity aircraft pull for SSAFA at RAF Cosford

A team of four aircraft technician instructors of No. 238 Squadron, RAF Cosford, have set themselves the challenge of pulling a Jaguar aircraft 238 metres along the airfield’s main runway on Wednesday, October 27...

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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