Handley Page Aircraft Company

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The Handley Page Aircraft Company was founded by Frederick Handley Page in 1909 as the United Kingdom's first publicly traded aircraft manufacturing company. It filed for bankruptcy and ceased to exist in 1970. The company, based at Radlett Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, was noted for producing heavy bombers and large airliners.

Contents

World War I

During the First World War Handley Page produced a series of bomber for the Royal Navy to bomb the German Zeppelin yards, with the ultimate intent of bombing Berlin in revenge for the Zeppelin attacks on London. These aircraft included the O/100, the O/400 and the four engined V/1500 with the range to reach Berlin. The V/1500 only just reached operational service as the war ended in 1918.

In the immediate post-war years, Handley Page modified a number of O/400's to passenger use, which they flew on the London-Paris route as Handley Page Transport. The V/1500 was considered too large to be practical at the time, but a number of design features of the V/1500 were later incorporated into a O/400 airframe to produce their first dedicated passenger design, the W.8. In 1924 Handley Page Transport merged with two other regional airlines to create Imperial Airways, England's first national airline service. Handley Page developed several large biplane airliners, including the luxurious Hannibal, for use on Imperial routes.

Handley Page also paid for the development of what soon became known as the Handley Page Slat (or slot), a small channel cut into the leading edge of the wing to improve airflow at high angles of attack. The design was so successful that licensing fees to other companies was their main source of income in the early 1920s.

World War II

With the spectre of the Second World War looming, Handley Page turned back to bomber design, and produced the Hampden, which took part in the first British raid on Berlin. In response to government request for heavier, longer ranged aircraft Handley Page produced the Halifax which after the Lancaster was the most prolific British heavy bomber, and considered by some to be to a superior aircraft.

After the war the British government sought tenders for jet bombers to carry Britain's atomic bomb. The three types produced were known as the V-Bombers, and Handley Page's contribution was the Victor, a four engined crescent winged design. This aircraft remained in service (as a tanker aircraft) well beyond the demise of the company which created it.

In 1947 Handley Page bought some of the assets of the bankrupt Miles Aircraft company. These assets include existing designs, tools and jigs, and the Miles Reading site at Woodley. The most significant of the inherited designs was the Herald turboprop airliner.

One of the final notable Handley Page designs was the Jetstream, this was a small commuter turboprop aircraft, with a pressurised cabin and a passenger capacity of 12 to 18. It was designed primarily for the United States feederliner market. Although Handley Page was wound up as a company, the Jetstream lived on as a successful product, being produced at the old Scottish Aviation factory at Prestwick, first by Scottish Aviation, then by British Aerospace.

Note on Handley Page Type Designations

Handley Page originally used a letter progression to designate types i.e. R, S, T, U, V, W etc, with a number (that may or may not have been meaningful to designate sub-types, e.g. the O/100 indicated the type's 100 foot wingspan). In 1924, Handley Page moved from the letter/number (or letter.number), to the H.P.number type designation. Thus the W/400 is also known as the H.P.16, and the W.8 is also known as the H.P.18. The H.P.R.number indicates that the design originated in the Reading design office.

Aircraft Designs (chronologically)

Designation Series

Name Designation
Type 'O' O/100 - O/400 - R/200 - V/1500
O/400 Transport Variant O/7 - O/10 - O/11 - W/400 - H.P.16
Hyderbad/Hamilton/Hampstead W.8 - W.9 - W.10 - H.P.18 - H.P.26 - H.P.27 - H.P.30
H.P.19 - H.P.21 - H.P.22 - H.P.28
Harrow H.P.31
H.P.32 - H.P.34 - H.P.36
Heyford H.P.38 - H.P.50
Gugnunc H.P.39
Heracles/Hannibal H.P.42 - H.P.45
Harrow H.P.43 - H.P.51 - H.P.54
H.P.46 - H.P.47
Hampden/Hereford H.P.52 - H.P.53
Halifax H.P.56 - H.P.57 - H.P.59 - H.P.61 - H.P.63- H.P.70 - H.P.71
Hastings/Hermes H.P.67 - H.P.68 - H.P.74 - H.P.81 - H.P.82
Manx H.P.75
Victor H.P.80
H.P.88 - H.P.115
Jetstream H.P.137
H.P.R.2
Herald H.P.R.3 - H.P.R.4 - H.P.R.7


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

External links

A short history of the company written for the Centennial of Flight:

http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Aerospace/Handley-page/Aero51.htm

An enthusiast web site dedicated to the company:

http://www.handleypage.com/

pl:Handley Page

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