C.Barnes Handley Page Aircraft since 1907 (Putnam)
Early Biplanes B, G, K, L, M and N (H.P.2, 7, 8, 9 and 10)
The first biplane made by Handley Page was not of his own design, although he contributed a very substantial amount of alteration before it became a practical proposition, and so acquired the company designation of Type B. It was the invention (rather than design) of a Liverpool patent agent, W. P. Thompson, who had registered several ingenious methods of adjusting wing area and centre of gravity position as a means of control and manoeuvre. Unfortunately he had no idea of economy in structure weight and proposed to use tubular frameworks with ordinary plumber’s screwed joints. He took out six aeronautical patents of no real merit between 1893 and 1908 and had evolved a biplane layout with both pilot and engine below the wing to ensure ‘pendulum stability’. He met Handley Page in 1909 and commissioned a prototype, which was built at Barking as a biplane of orthodox spruce and fabric construction; much of the work was done by Thompson’s assistant Robert Fenwick, who was very much more aware of the problems and pitfalls than his employer, and insisted on having long tail booms carrying a biplane elevator and a pair of rudders. Type B was completed in October 1909 and originally had two propellers mounted level with the lower wing and chain-driven by a 60 hp Green engine installed below the wing, with the pilot seated ahead of the engine. The undercarriage comprised a pair of main landing wheels under the wing on either side of the pilot’s seat, small outrigger wheels under the wing-tips, and a tailskid. Fenwick attempted a flight at Barking, but almost at once the main wheels buckled, and while repairs were in progress the factory shed was partly demolished by a gale, causing further damage. Handley Page considered Type B to be a failure and not worth repairing, but allowed Fenwick to rebuilt it at Thompson’s expense, and in spite of its derisory nickname of ‘The Scrapheap’ Fenwick succeeded in making good most of the damage during the spring and summer of 1910, finally sending it by rail to Freshfield, Lancashire, where Thompson had equipped a flying ground and registered his enterprise as Planes Limited. Before completion, Fenwick added ailerons and improved the tail unit; he also discarded the chain-driven twin propellers in favour of a single one direct-coupled to the engine. On 29 November, 1910, Fenwick was rewarded for his efforts by calm weather in which he succeeded in flying far enough and high enough to qualify for Royal Aero Club certificate No. 35. A few days later, when the weather broke, he crashed, but the machine was once more repaired and eventually flown from the sands at Formby; but by this time its origin had been forgotten and Handley Page was glad to forget it.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Handley Page B H.P.2
The designation H.P.2 was given by Handley Page to their model B Biplane which was constructed during 1909 for W. P. Thompson, to be developed as the Planes, Ltd., Biplane.
Planes Ltd. Biplane
The Planes Ltd. Biplane was the second powered aeroplane to be built by Handley Page at Barking, and was known by its makers as the H.P.2 B. The machine was a single-seater constructed to the special order and design of W. P. Thompson, a Lancashire patent agent who formed Planes Ltd. as the company to undertake development of the design. A 60 h.p. Green engine provided the power for two pusher propellers, which were mounted behind the lower wings. All weight, including the pilot, was concentrated below the wings in an effort to prove the theory of automatic pendulum stability. In addition to a biplane tail with two rudders, a fore-plane was carried also.
After completion in October, 1909, unsuccessful tests were carried out at Barking, and the machine was smashed when its shed blew down. It was then rebuilt and transported to Freshfield Aerodrome, Liverpool, during 1910 and reconstructed; a single propeller took the place of the original pair fitted with chain-drive, the rear tail surfaces were lightened and ailerons supplanted the wing-warping of the upper surfaces. It was flown by R. C. Fenwick, who used it to take his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 35 on 29th November, 1910. He crashed the machine during December, 1910, after which it was rebuilt and flown successfully by the same pilot over the shore at Formby, Lanes.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1913
PLANES. Planes, Ltd, 6, Lord Street, Liverpool. Works: Duke Street & Cleveland Street, Birkenhead. Not building at present. In October, 1910, the firm produced a biplane, designed by W.P. Thompson, fitted with a special pendulum stabilising device. This was followed a year or so later by a monoplane.
Flight, December 3, 1910
I have seen numerous letters in your paper on pendulum stability, and your reply especially to Mr. Thos. Kelham, and I think you may be interested in hearing that we have ourselves tested this pendulum theory to the uttermost, and I enclose you the photograph of a machine which is being daily flown, often for long distances, has been tried for weeks in every conceivable manner, such as for height, for going out in a strong wind, for turning in a short radius, and for going long distances, and has proved remarkably successful, and has been entered for the De Forest prize to France. On one occasion it started with a monoplane and a biplane at Freshfield to go a given distance, turn round a given point, and come back again. For about half a mile of this distance our aviator informs us that he hardly once put his hand to the steering and elevating lever, and all the bystanders agreed that its flight was wonderfully steady as compared both with the monoplane and the other biplane which accompanied it. It alone of the three machines was able to go round the goal point owing to the strong current the other two having had to come to earth, and our aviator, Mr Fenwick informs us that, in his opinion, it is a much easier and safer machine to manage than one with the weight nearer the centre of gravity. This machine has been patented under various patents ranging from 1906 on.
6, Lord Street, Liverpool. PLANES LTD CHAS. LESLIE, Secretary.