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Handley Page Hastings Military Transport Aircraft

In 1944 the UK Air Ministry decided that a replacement troop-carrier and freight transport aircraft would be required for the Avro York which used many parts, including wings and undercarriage, designed for the Lancaster bomber, to meet this requirement they issued Air Ministry Specification C.3/44 in 1945, the HP 67 was Handley Page's response. When the Handley Page HP 67 Hastings first took to the air on the 7th May 1946 it was destined to become the largest transport plane ever designed for the RAF. The Handley Page Hastings had all-metal tapering wings and a circular fuselage suitable for pressurisation if required.

Handley Page Hastings Military Transport Aircraft

 

147 Hastings were built for the RAF entering service in 1948 and a further four for the RNZAF. The RAF's Hastings soon obtained the nickname "Hastybird" and flew intensively during 'Operation Plainfare' (the Berlin Airlift), the last official flight of the Berlin Airlift on the 6th October 1949 being made by a Handley Page Hastings (One of the aircraft is now on display Berlin's air museum). RAF Hastings were also active in the Suez Canal Conflict. The second Hastings prototype was used as a test-bed for the engines of Handley Page's new 'V' bomber, the Victor, two Sapphire jet turbine engines replacing the Hastings outer engines.

 
 
Handley-Page Hastings RAF Transport
 

In 1950 nineteen RAF Hastings were converted to Hastings Met.Mk 1 weather reconnaissance aircraft, and in 1959 eight of these were converted again into Hastings T.Mk 5 trainers which were used for training the RAF's new V-bomber crews (Handley Page Victor, Avro Vulcan and Vickers Valiant).

The Handley Page Hastings remained in service in it's designed roles with RAF Transport Command until many were replaced by the Bristol Britannia in 1959, the remainder being replaced by Hercules and Argosy transports by the end of 1967. The RNZAF used it's Hastings until 1965 when they were replaced with Lockheed C130's. The last RAF Hastings in service were four Hastings T5's used by the Radar Flight of No.230 OCU who used them to train V bomber crews on the Navigation Bombing System until 30 June 1977.

 
 

Handley Page Hastings T5 V bomber Navigation Bombing System trainer

 

Handley Page HP 81 Hermes

Twenty Five Handley Page HP 81 Hermes, a civilian airliner based on the Hastings, were supplied to BOAC, the aircraft was of similar appearance to the Hastings but was fitted with more powerful engines and utilised a tricycle undercarriage rather than the tail wheel undercarriage used on the Hastings.

 
Handley Page Hastings T5 V bomber Navigation Bombing System trainer
 
 
Handley Page Hastings Specifications:

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  • Crew: 5 or 6 depending on use
  • Capacity: 50 troops or 30 paratroops
  • Length: 81 ft 3 in (24.8 m)
  • Wingspan: 113 ft 0 in (34.5 m)
  • Height: 22 ft 6 in (6.9 m)
  • Maximum weight: 75,000 lb (34,010 kg)
  • Engines:: Four 1,675 hp (1,250 kW)
    Bristol Hercules 101's
  • Maximum speed: 343 mph @ 21,500 ft
    (552 km/h @ 6,550 m)
  • Range: 2,850 miles (4,590 km)
  • Service ceiling: 26,700 ft (8,140 m)
 

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