А.Шепс Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Хендли Пейдж H.P.12 (0/400) 1917 г.
После окончания войны часть машин была переоборудована в транспортные. Это были машины O/400 со снятым вооружением.
Несколько машин оснащались комфортабельной кабиной на 14 пассажиров. Эти машины летали на линии Лондон-Париж и Лондон-Брюссель. За первые 9 месяцев 6 машин O/400 и 2 машины O/7 перевезли 1500 пассажиров и 40 000 кг груза. Самолеты эксплуатировались до 1923 года.
C.Barnes Handley Page Aircraft since 1907 (Putnam)
O/400 Civil Transport Variants
As early as October 1916 George Holt Thomas, proprietor of the Aircraft Manufacturing Co at Hendon and Handley Page's principal competitor, had staked a claim for British post-war commercial aviation by registering a subsidiary, Aircraft Transport & Travel Ltd, with a capital of ?50,000. He was an advocate of medium-sized single-engined aeroplanes, in preference to Handley Page's twins, and Handley Page missed no opportunity of proclaiming the contrary view in favour of a modified O/400 capable of carrying six-ton loads and accommodating a dozen or more passengers in reasonable comfort in an enclosed saloon. In May 1917 the Air Board set up the Civil Aerial Transport Committee to examine the possibilities and needs of post-war commercial aviation, although hostilities were expected to last at least two more years; and in January 1917, Lord Montague of Beaulieu, during a visit to Delhi, had forecast an air route to India as a peacetime priority task. His view was endorsed by the report of the Civil Aerial Transport Committee to the Air Council in February 1918, recommending development of aerial transport services by the State and stressing the need for Empire air route surveys. With the war ending unexpectedly soon in November 1918, official plans had only partly matured and the government was immediately faced with urgent industrial and social problems arising from the cancellation of munitions contracts. In the ensuing chaos, a Ministry of Reconstruction was set up to redeploy labour and capital into useful channels; in industry, everyone looked to his own survival, as the first exuberance and relief of the Armistice gave way to anxiety in the prevailing environment of unemployment, bankruptcy, demobilisation and accumulation of unwanted 'warlike stores'. On the Service side, there was a good deal of enthusiasm, particularly in the Independent Force, for the immediate conversion of the medium and heavy bomber squadrons into transport units; on 13 December the 86th (Communications) Wing RAF was formed at Hendon under Lt-Col Primrose to operate a few O/400s (as 'H.M. Airliners') and smaller types for carrying mails to the army in Flanders and at Cologne; a month earlier Holt Thomas had announced his intention to start a civilian air service between London and Paris immediately after the Armistice, but was prevented from doing so by the Defence of the Realm Act, which effectively reserved all flying to the armed services until new legislation could introduce civil aviation under formal parliamentary control; furthermore there were complicated issues of international law to be negotiated with neighbouring countries.
Satisfied that Holt Thomas could not obtain a monopoly of civil aviation, Handley Page concentrated on the most economic ways of adapting both the O/400 and V/1500 to commercial use, giving priority to the former. The cancellation of current production contracts had left a large number of newly delivered O/400s at Hendon and Cricklewood, which were no longer needed by the RAF, and Handley Page had no difficulty in buying back from the Ministry of Munitions, at rather less than cost, a batch of sixteen. Only four of these were already completed, the others being still in the final stages of manufacture and thus more readily modified for transport purposes. The four comprised D8350, the last of a batch of fifty manufactured by the British Caudron Co as sub-contractor to Handley Page Ltd, and F5414, F5417 and F5418, the last three completed of the batch transferred to Cricklewood from Cubitts National Aircraft Factory No. 1 at Waddon, which had closed down at the end of 1918. Neither passengers nor mails could be carried until the Air Navigation Bill became law, but Handley Page was in close touch with Fleet Street and had made the most of officially sponsored press visits to Cricklewood during the later stages of the war; an obvious application of air transport, which did not conflict with the Post Office mail monopoly, was the rapid delivery of newspapers from London and Manchester to provincial cities. In collaboration with Major Orde Lees, the Air Ministry's parachute specialist, these four O/400s were converted to carry parcels of newspapers on their bomb racks, to be dropped by 'Guardian Angel' static-line parachutes. The existing 'honeycomb' grid of sixteen bomb cells was replaced by six larger cells, while rudimentary 'ferry-bus' seats were installed forward and aft of the bomb bay (which retained the internal fuel tanks above), so that up to seven passengers could be carried in tolerable comfort in addition to one or two in the nose-gunner's cockpit.
The Air Navigation Bill 1919 received the Royal Assent on 27 February and Handley Page celebrated this occasion by exhibiting the fuselage of an O/400, mocked-up (with club lounge chairs) as a saloon for sixteen passengers, at Selfridges in Oxford Street; he also gave a luncheon party at Prince's Restaurant, where he announced the formation of a new subsidiary, Handley Page Transport Ltd, to operate passenger, freight and mail airliners adapted in the manner shown in the mock-up. He proposed to start with a London Paris service; then, as experience and traffic grew, to extend the route to Lyons, Marseilles, Turin, Florence, Rome and finally Brindisi, to connect with P & O ships to Port Said and India. In March 1919 a twin-float seaplane version of the O/400 was planned, probably for Mediterranean use, and Boswall tested several float shapes in the wind-tunnel; as Type S, this layout had already been investigated for Murray Sueter two years earlier. Meanwhile through the good offices of Godfrey Isaacs of the Marconi Company, Handley Page had been invited to tender for the supply of several twin-engined aircraft to carry a payload of ten passengers plus 1,800 lb of cargo, urgently needed by the new republican government of China, which had set up a Ministry of Communications to combat the bandits and pirates who preyed on travellers by land and water. The Chinese authorities saw aircraft as a means of both policing their vast territories to eliminate banditry, and improving commerce between isolated regions more quickly than by building new roads and railways; they were fully aware of recent advances in wireless telegraphy and proposed to coordinate wireless and aviation to the limit of the techniques available at that date. The first job of these aircraft would be to transport the bulky wireless ground stations to their locations in the hinterland, in the absence of any ground access whatever. In April 1919 Handley Page's Chinese agents, the Peking Syndicate, confirmed a contract for six aircraft as specified and these were converted from the twelve uncompleted O/400 airframes already reserved on the halted production line at Cricklewood; only one of them, J1934, already had a Service serial allotted, this being nominally a contract replacement for the sample O/400 airframe sent early in 1918 to the Standard Aircraft Corporation of Elizabeth, New Jersey.
The new transport design, called O/700 (later O/7), was generally similar to the O/400 and retained all its main components, but the internal fuel tanks were deleted and new fuel tanks were installed in extended nacelles, in the manner of the original O/100. The fuselage cross-bracing tierods were replaced by diagonal tubular struts at each frame, from the upper longerons to the middle of the floor, giving a narrow but adequate central gangway between facing pairs of wicker armchairs arranged in five rows, with seven rectangular Cellon windows in each fuselage side wall. There were seats for one or two additional passengers in the nose cockpit, now fitted with a raised coaming and windscreens, and these were accessible from the crew cockpit, which in turn was entered from the main cabin through a door in the bulkhead behind the cockpit; in the O/7 this bulkhead was the same height as the cabin roof, unlike the 'limousine' transport conversions from existing O/400 bombers, which retained the downward slope of the upper longerons and convex decking between them. The new fuel tanks were larger than those of the O/100 and a small gravity service tank was installed above each nacelle under the top wing. The main cabin was entered by a full-height door in the port side, with a window in it so that there were effectively eight windows on the port side and seven on the starboard.
It was obviously impracticable to define and promulgate Air Navigation Regulations immediately after the Royal Assent in time for civil flying to commence on 1 March, although Sir Woodman Burbidge of Harrods took a chance on it by chartering a flight from Hendon to Brussels and back, without being prosecuted. Handley Page thought 1 April was a possibility, since the International Convention on Air Navigation had begun sitting at Paris to sort out the legal tangle of international sovereignty and transit rights. So the four converted 0/400s were hurried forward and the first (F5414) was flown at Cricklewood on 4 April; by then the commencing date had been put back to 1 May and both Handley Page and Holt Thomas protested against this delay in permitting commercial flights within the United Kingdom, even though the international difficulties were appreciated. At the last moment the Air Ministry relented to the extent of allowing local passenger flights by approved operators at specified aerodromes during the Easter holiday week-end; and D8350, F5414 and F5417, piloted respectively by Lt-Col Sholto Douglas, Major Leslie Foot and Captain Geoffrey Hill, were kept busily employed at Cricklewood taking up 800 of the many spectators for half-hour joy rides over London. In addition, two of Major Orde Lees' team, 'Professor' Newall and Miss Sylvia Boyden, demonstrated the 'Guardian Angel' parachute with jumps from 1,200 ft. F5418 was test flown soon after Easter and all four were surveyed and approved for awards of the first four British Certificates of Airworthiness, dated 1 May, 1919; No.1 was issued to F5414, No.2 to F5417, No.3 to D8350 and No.4 to F5418. Pending international agreement on registration markings, these four O/400s displayed their existing serial numbers painted as large as possible on the fuselage sides.
First away from Cricklewood, and the third British civil aircraft to begin operation on 1 May, was D8350 with eleven passengers, flown by Lt-Col Douglas to Manchester (Didsbury) in 3 hr 40 min against a stiff headwind; next day Douglas attempted to fly on to Aberdeen via Carlisle, Dundee and Montrose, intending to drop newspapers at each place and to stop overnight at Edinburgh, but bad weather forced him to return after 100 miles and delayed the flight till the 5th, when it was successfully completed, 1,500 lb of newspapers being conveyed in a total distance of 370 miles; on this trip Major Orde Lees left the aeroplane by parachute over Aberdeen in order, as he said, 'to drop in on a friend there'. Returning on the 6th with Mr Blackwood, the Edinburgh publisher, as his only passenger, Douglas had to make a precautionary landing in bad weather near Penrith, but took off again later and reached Didsbury the same day without further incident. Meanwhile on 3 May, with eight assistants aboard to sort and release packets of newspapers, Major Foot flew a round trip of 170 miles from Hounslow, probably in F5417, over Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and St Leonards, returning to Cricklewood after 2 1/4 hrs without landing en route; on the 6th he made a similar circuit to deliver newspapers to Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth, covering 310 miles in just under 5 hr. Further newspaper flights were made by Foot to Southampton, Bournemouth, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, and by Lieutenant Walker to South Wales and Filton and back, both on 9 May; by Walker to Southend and Clacton on the 10th and to Norwich, Cromer and Great Yarmouth on the 11th; and by Douglas to Castle Bromwich via Nottingham, Northampton and Lichfield on the 12th, returning to Cricklewood the same day. Meanwhile Captain W. Shakespeare had begun flying newspapers from Didsbury to Glasgow in F5414 on 3 May, and on the 12th was returning to Didsbury with Major Orde-Lees and Sylvia Boyden, together with his fitter Bill Crisp and rigger George Marchmont, when he had to make a forced landing with engine trouble at Harker, a few miles north of Carlisle. The trouble was soon rectified but the aircraft crashed in attempting to take off from the small field in which it had landed and was considerably damaged; Orde Lees, Marchmont and Crisp in the rear fuselage were only shaken, but the two in front had to spend a few days in Carlisle hospital, Miss Boyden having several front teeth knocked out. Only the rear fuselage and tail unit of F5414 was found to be worth salvaging for return to Cricklewood, but this was sufficient to preserve the legal identity of the rebuilt airframe which emerged two months later, having been converted to the full O/7 standard in the process; it was, in fact, the only previously flown O/400 to be so converted, its original C of A having lapsed at the end of May and being replaced by a new one, No. 165, dated 14 August, 1919.
As a result of these experimental flights, most of which had been sponsored by the Daily Mail and Evening News, Handley Page planned to extend his operations and appointed Lavington Brothers and Leopold Walford (London) Ltd as his official passenger and freight agents for services in all parts of the world; but international flights were still prohibited until conditions had been agreed by all the nations involved, so Handley Page meanwhile accepted an invitation from Bournemouth corporation to operate a week-end summer service leaving Cricklewood each Friday and returning each Monday. This service was inaugurated on 5 June by Walker in D8350, which had been brightened up by having its nose painted red, but over such a short distance the O/400 could show no net gain in block speed over the excellent service already provided by the London & South Western Railway, and the experiment ended on 18 August, by which time international agreement had been obtained at Paris. One of the results of regular joy riding flights at Cricklewood was a complaint from the MCC of low flying over a cricket match at Lord's on 18 May, for which Handley Page Transport Ltd's general manager, E. J. Bray, expressed contrition in acceptable terms; although already operating by this date, Handley Page Transport Ltd was not in fact formally incorporated till 14 June. Meanwhile Handley Page had sent Major Ivor Bellairs to Brazil to report on the possibility of running an airline between Buenos Aires and Pernambuco, a project strongly mooted in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
On 5 July, 1919, the first of the six new O/7s for China was tested by Captain Geoffrey Hill, who climbed to 1,500 ft with eighteen passengers, representing a gross weight of 12,800 lb; at this height he found it possible to fly level with one engine throttled back. This machine, not having a previous identity, was given the maker's mark HP-1, and was also allotted the temporary civil mark K-162, which it never carried; this in turn was superseded by the registration G-EAGN when its C of A No. 149 was awarded on 8 August, but by this time it was already crated for shipment to Shanghai. The other five also were shipped on completion, HP-2 and HP-3 being dispatched on 25 August, HP-4 on 6 September, and HP-5 and HP-6 on 20 September. Meanwhile the surviving tail end of F5414 had been 'rebuilt' as a virtually new O/7 early in July and, while still unfurnished, was equipped to test a new Marconi radio-telephone, for which purpose it carried aerial masts at the nose and tail. It is believed to have flown from Hounslow to Paris and back on 15 July, during the concessionary period of civil flying from 13-20 July granted in connection with the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty. Thereafter its furnishings for fourteen passengers were completed and about 12 August it was flown to Brussels by Major Menzies and thence to the ELTA exhibition at Amsterdam, with a forced landing at Breda en route. At the ELTA aerodrome Menzies landed safely on the soft polder, but the 0/7 became bogged down while taxying in and tipped up on its nose, breaking the wireless mast; six hours were spent in salvage, but it was then found to have suffered no other damage, although the condition of the aerodrome made the proposed flying demonstration impossible. For this flight to Amsterdam it carried no marking on the fuselage except the Handley Page trade mark 'scroll', but to comply with the latest ICAN edict its rudders were marked with the national letter G and the serial displayed above and below the wings was changed to G-5414. The three other civil 0/400s were also converted for full passenger service, retaining the internal fuel tanks and having a cabin for six passengers aft of them, with a door on the port side and four windows on each side; the original mid-upper gunner's floor was retained as 'an observation platform with a sliding roof,' the latter serving also as a ditching exit. Two windows were provided on each side forward of the mainplane, where two further passenger seats were installed; as long as the rear cabin was full, one or two more passengers could be carried in the nose cockpit, which was fitted with coaming and windscreens as in the O/7, and was particularly recommended to 'those who prefer to travel in the open.' A proving flight of the first such conversion, marked G-5417, was made by Captain Shakespeare with several passengers from Hounslow to Brussels and Amsterdam on 21 August; he returned on the 25th, when he became the first man to have breakfasted in Amsterdam, lunched in Brussels and dined in London all in one day. All four of the original machines then received new registration marks in the all-letter style preferred by ICAN, the O/7 G-5414 becoming G-EAAF, and the O/400s G-5417, D8350 and F5418 becoming G-EAAW, G-EAAE and G-EAAG respectively; the last three were temporarily named Flamingo, Vulture and Penguin.
On 25 August, 1919, international civil flying became legal and Holt Thomas was first away with a scheduled Aircraft Transport & Travel service from Hounslow to Le Bourget. Handley Page, though not quite ready for scheduled operation, laid on a proving flight in G-EAAE, which was the third aircraft to leave Hounslow for Paris that morning; the pilot was Major Leslie Foot and his seven passengers were invited journalists. They reached the cabin door by means of an ordinary step ladder, of which Handley Page had bought six for one guinea as his basic airport equipment. They returned next day, landing at Lympne to clear Customs, in order to fly straight on to Cricklewood without calling at Hounslow. Lt-Col Douglas also flew to Le Bourget on the 25th in G-EAAF, returning next day with his wife and Miss Gertrude Bacon as his only passengers, who thereby became the first women to cross the Channel in a certificated civil airliner, even though it was not yet in scheduled service. Handley Page had hoped to begin regular operation on 1 September, but had to start one day late, when Lt-Col Douglas again flew from Cricklewood, via Hounslow, to Le Bourget in G-EAAF. In anticipation of increasing traffic on the Cricklewood-Paris route and of the complementary service to Brussels that he proposed soon to commence, Handley Page bought in from the Aircraft Disposals Board a further twelve O/400s stored at Castle Bromwich, including seven built by Birmingham Carriage Co and three built by the Metropolitan Wagon Co, none of them having been flown since their half-hour acceptance tests. Two of these, J2249 and J2250, were converted for passenger service forthwith, becoming G-EAKF and G-EAKG, to the same standard as G-EAAW. The Brussels service began on 23 September on three days a week, but on the 28th a railway strike began at home which disrupted both inland passenger and mail traffic, and cross-Channel rail and boat services. On 29 September the Postmaster General authorised AT & T to carry mail between London and Paris and Handley Page Transport to do the same between London and Brussels, while the RAF was called in to carry inland mail between principal centres; the strike ended on 6 October, but Handley Page managed to retain the Brussels airmail concession, and had also helped AT & T to clear some of the backlog of mail for Paris. Civil aviation had surmounted this crisis and Handley Page Transport Ltd looked forward to steadily increasing traffic in the months to come; on 2 October another O/7 (HP-7) received its C of A, becoming G-EANV; this was the first of the second half dozen new machines, which Handley Page hoped to sell abroad at the full price, so he withdrew it from cross-Channel service after a few running-in flights and began conversion of five more of the Castle Bromwich 0/400s to the more utilitarian passenger standard of G-EAAW; these were J2251 (G-EALX) and J2247 (G-EALY) in October, J2248 (G-EAMA) in November, and J2243 (G-EALZ) and D4623 (G-EAMB) in December. During the same period several 0/400s from the same stockpile were modified for demonstration and record-breaking purposes. Earliest of these was G-EAKE (ex J2252), which was a minimal conversion with ten seats, but without extra windows, for a Scandinavian demonstration tour by Captain J. Stewart and Major Tryggve Gran, the latter having returned from Canada after Brackley's misfortune with the V/1500 at Parrsboro. Leaving Cricklewood on the afternoon of 24 August, they reached Soesterberg for the night and flew on to Copenhagen and Arhus before flying on to Norway, where they had a considerable welcome, taking up over 450 passengers at Christiania (Oslo), but came to grief at Lillesand on 6 September when one engine cut after take-off and caused a crash landing between two houses; none of the eight persons on board was injured and the aircraft was rebuilt after a long delay, eventually being flown 350 miles to Stockholm on 28 June, 1920; returning next day, Gran and his co-pilot Carter, after flying 80 miles in heavy rain, had to land at Orebro and damaged one wing, which they patched up; but on take-off next day one engine cut and G-EAKE was burnt out, though without any serious casualties. More fortunate was an expedition to Poland by Captains Herne and McNaught Davis in G-EAMD (ex D4633), leaving Cricklewood on 10 December and arriving via Cologne at Berlin (Spandau) the same day; there they had to wait ten days for permission to fly on to Warsaw, where they arrived on the 20th, and in January gave a series of official exhibition flights; this resulted in the sale of G-EAMD to the Polish Government, which proposed to run airmail services from Warsaw to Danzig and Cracow, with a possible extension through Ukraine to Kiev; six O/400s were ordered, but political difficulties soon afterwards caused them to be cancelled. An enthusiastic reception had been given to Captain Shakespeare, who flew G-EAAW to Athens on 30 October to take part in an exhibition of British industrial products; his route was Paris-Lyons-Pisa-Rome-Benevento-Taranto and on 1 November he took up the King of Greece for a flight at Tatoi near Athens.
One other O/400, believed to be C9704, had been flown, as HP-17, by Major E. L. Foot on a special charter from Hounslow to Madrid in August 1919aboutthetime that Handley Page tendered for the airmail service across Brazil. Having refuelled at Bordeaux for the stage to Vittoria, Foot was forced by engine failure to land in a maize field at Durango, striking a telegraph pole which damaged one wing. With wings folded HP-17 was towed by two oxen through the narrow streets of the village to a larger field, where repairs were begun and spares ordered from Cricklewood. After several months of delay and frustration, it was made airworthy and on 6 March, 1920, R. H. McIntosh flew it back to Hounslow via Vittoria, Tours and Le Bourget in the record time of 13 1/2 hours; it was then dismantled, for use as spares for G-EAAF, when the latter was withdrawn from the Handley Page Transport fleet in May 1920 and shipped to New York in anticipation of operating charter flights between there and Chicago; but this enterprise was killed by Judge Chatfield's injunction against importation of foreign aircraft into the USA. On arrival G-EAAF was impounded by Customs, but was later released to the Curtiss Engineering Division at Curtiss Field, Garden City, Long Island, where it was renovated in 1921 and flown for exhibition purposes by Curtiss pilots in 1922 and 1923.
Further afield Major Ivor Bellairs had won for Handley Page the Brazilian government's concession to fly passengers and mails between Pernambuco and Buenos Aires on a four-day schedule in eleven stages totalling 2,725 miles in each direction, for which a fleet of twenty-four O/400s would be needed, but this plan was frustrated by political intrigue, and the only O/400 (probably HP-29) to arrive in Brazil was later flown in Argentina by Lieutenant Charles Eardley Wilmot, who organised a Handley Page flying school at El Palomar during 1920. Similar activity in South Africa by Captain S. Wood proclaimed the formation of Handley Page South African Transports Ltd to operate a passenger and airmail route between Cape Town and Johannesburg. In November 1919 the O/7 G-EANV was withdrawn from the cross-Channel service and shipped to Cape Town in RMS Durham Castle, together with the eighth new O/7 en route to Calcutta as G-IAAA. Major Menzies was put in charge of flying operations at Young's Field, Wynberg, where G-EANV was re-erected in January. This aeroplane had been named Pioneer on arrival, but commercial pressure caused it to be emblazoned with the legend Commando for its first flight; this was not a change of name, but the trade mark of the brandy that it was advertising across its ample wing span. The first flight of 103 miles from Wynberg to Saldanha Bay, with thirteen passengers and a crew of three, was made by Major Menzies on 12 February, but while returning on the 16th the aircraft ran out of fuel in the Karoo near Sutherland, having flown off course due to a compass error over the Hex River ironfields. After a successful forced landing, petrol was brought to the spot and the flight was resumed as far as Beaufort West on the 22nd. Five minutes after take-off next morning, tail flutter developed when the port rudder post came out of its bearing socket and Pioneer spun slowly down from 300 ft fortunately without injuring any of the ten people on board. As a result of this accident, the Cape Town-Johannesburg airline project was abandoned for the time being and although G-IAAA was erected at Wynberg, it was flown only to display the Commando advertisement and was repacked for shipment to Calcutta as soon as this contract had been fulfilled; meanwhile it had been hoped that another O/400 would have succeeded in flying all the way from England to Cape Town.
After the ?10,000 prize for the first direct crossing of the North Atlantic had been won by Jack Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown in June 1919, the Daily Mail had offered a similar prize for the first continuous flight from England to Australia; this had been won by Ross and Keith Smith in December and the Daily Mail then put up a further ?10,000 prize for the first through flight from Cairo to Cape Town. Since both the previous prizes had been won with Vickers Vimys, it was natural that this type should also be chosen by two of the entrants for the African flight; a Vimy Commercial, flown by Captains Cockerell and Broome, was financed jointly by Vickers Ltd and The Times, while a Vimy bomber, flown by Lt-Col Pierre Van Ryneveld and Flt Lieut Quintin Brand, was officially entered by the South African government. Handley Page was determined not to let Vickers have the field to themselves and persuaded the Daily Telegraph to share the cost of entering an O/400, to be flown by Major Brackley, who had stayed too late with the V/1500 in America to take part in the Australian competition, but had returned to England shortly before Christmas. The Daily Telegraph's special correspondent, Major Charles C. Turner, was to join the flight at Cairo and the other crew members were Captain Frederick Tymms (navigator), Sergt R. Knight (engine fitter) and Jack Stoten, a Handley Page rigger, who had flown with Brackley in the V/1500 from Parrsboro to Cleveland. The O/400, G-EAMC (ex D4624), was a standard bomber with armament removed and high compression Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines installed to improve performance in the tropics. After a test flight at Cricklewood with Geoffrey Hill on 17 January, 1920, Brackley and his crew took off on the 25th, intending to fly 500 miles to Lyons, but unbroken cloud over France compelled them to land at Marquise, whence they edged their way through patchy fog to Le Bourget next day; on the 27th they reached Istres a few hours after Cockerell and Broome had left, but on the 28th bad weather forced them to shelter for two days at St Raphael. They had fine weather for the stage to Centocelle on the 30th and reached Brindisi early next afternoon, but on 1 February, while starting for Athens, the machine taxied into a boggy patch on the edge of the aerodrome. Immediately Stoten and Knight jumped down with spades to dig out the sunken starboard wheels, but the airscrew was still turning and struck Stoten a fatal blow on the head, breaking two blades in the process; he was dead on arrival in hospital. Attempts to obtain a serviceable airscrew in Taranto and Athens proved fruitless and finally a new one was brought from Cricklewood by Stoten's replacement Corporal Banthorpe, who fiercely repelled a threat by the French railway guard to saw pieces off the blade tips when the train was stopped by insufficient clearance under a low bridge. Banthorpe arrived at Brindisi on 17 February and the flight was resumed next morning. They left Athens on the 19th on the 470-mile oversea stage to Solium, steering by the sun, and flew 400 miles across the desert to Heliopolis next day. At Cairo they found Van Ryneveld and Brand, who had crashed their first Vimy, while Cockerell and Broome had reported arrival at Mongalla. After necessary repairs at Heliopolis, Brackley and his crew reached Assiut on the 23rd and Aswan next day, after a very rough ride through sandstorms and turbulence, complicated by a defective fuel pump. Taking off before 7 a.m. on the 25th, while the air was still cool, they made good progress, passing Abu Hamed in four hours, but twenty minutes later, while flying at 8,000 ft, tail flutter forced them to come down without delay. The rudders were partly jammed by the elevators and Brackley was unable to turn fully into wind before touchdown; the undercarriage collapsed and Brackley was shaken, but nobody else was hurt. They were five miles north of Shereik station on the railway line to Atbara and 200 miles from Khartoum. While the engines were being salvaged by the RAF, Brackley tried to ascertain the source of the flutter, but found nothing definite; probably it was the same rudder bearing defect as had afflicted G-EANV in Cape Province, and later in the year Notice to Ground Engineers No. 13 of 1920 drew attention to a risk of fatigue failure at this point on all civil variants of the O/400.
In contrast to disappointing results with O/400s in Scandinavia and Africa, and political frustration in Brazil, the six O/7s shipped to China made a good beginning. The first was erected at Nanyuan aerodrome and flown over Peking on 6 December, 1919, in a three-hour test flight, carrying fourteen passengers and 1,200 lb of sand ballast to a height of 6,200 ft, where the air temperature fell to -20 deg C. In spite of this intense cold, the Chinese government representatives Mr K. Y. Wei and General Tsing, who were in the front cockpits, praised the machine's steadiness and comfort and the landing was made 'in failing light in an aerodrome festooned with Chinese lanterns,' according to one eye-witness. By the end of February all six were ready and began proving flights, but the first official airmail service was not flown from Peking to Tientsin and back till 7 May; this was the first occasion on which letters posted by 5 p.m. in Tientsin had been delivered at 8 p.m. in Peking on the same day; among the fifteen passengers were again Mr Wei and General Tsing, also the British Minister at Peking, Mr B. F. Alston, and members of the Legation staff. Unfortunately the service was interrupted by the outbreak of civil war, with the result that three of the Handley Pages at Nanyuan were taken by General Tsao Kun to his headquarters at Paotingfu, while the other three, together with most of the Vickers aeroplanes, were removed to Mukden by General Changtso-lin; both warlords refused to release them on the grounds that the Treaty Powers had broken their agreement not to import military material during the civil war, although, in fact, all the aircraft had been supplied strictly for commercial purposes before the fighting began.
After the early arrival in 1919 of both the O/400 C9700 and the V/1500 J1936 in India, there was a lengthy hiatus before the Indian government announced regulations similar to the British Air Navigation Regulations and attempted to run an airmail service between Karachi and Bombay, using D.H.10s operated by No.97 Squadron RAF; this began in January 1920, but was suspended after six weeks because of the high cost and interruption of schedules. Meanwhile Handley Page had proposed a Calcutta-based air transport company with adequate facilities, in the expectation of being invited to tender for airmail services when these were offered to civilian contractors. The ninth new O/7 was shipped to Calcutta in November 1919, to become G-IAAB on the Indian civil register and G-IAAA arrived some weeks later from Cape Town. A working party un'der Mr Fford erected them on the Ellenborough racecourse soon after the RAF airmail had been suspended. Handley Page proposed to carry passengers on the airmail routes and if possible to fly at night to avoid excessive heat and turbulence, especially during the south-west monsoon season. On 5 March, 1920, Captain Clarke arrived in Bombay after flying G-IAAB from Calcutta in 17 hours flying time, carrying a crew of three, three passengers and three journalists; during the next two months demonstration flights were made from both cities and over 1,400 passengers were carried, including senior naval and army officers, and various rulers. Amongst the latter was His Highness Sir Waghji Ravaji, the Thakur Saheb of Morvi, a small but progressive independent state in Kathiawar, north of Bombay Presidency. He had already installed a metre-gauge railway to handle his extensive grain and cotton crops, and became an enthusiastic advocate of aviation after his first flight. As a result of these first demonstrations, Handley Page had three more O/7s modified for service in India, with improved cabin ventilation and silk upholstery; the first of these to arrive at Calcutta in May was HP-11 (G-EAPA), specially finished in sun-resistant aluminium dope externally, with blue nacelles and pink silk interior trim. HP-11 had been originally prepared in December 1919 as the standby exhibit for the Paris Salon in case the new W.8 failed to keep its date, but was not needed on that occasion. HP-10 (G-EAQZ) and HP-12 (G-EAPB) followed in June, soon after the incorporation of the Handley Page Indo-Burmese Transport Company at Calcutta, with an authorised capital of 1-5 million rupees and Lt-Col Ivo Edwards as managing director; its objects were to secure 15-year contracts for the carriage of airmails from the Indian Post Office, associated with short- range passenger and freight services, and to operate a factory and flying school, also a new hotel, at Calcutta. In promoting this ambitious scheme, Handley Page had fallen into the error of reckoning without the Asiatic temperament and the monsoon weather. To cover the route of 1,200 miles between Calcutta and Bombay an enormous capital outlay was necessary, not so much to prepare landing grounds every 150 miles as to maintain them through all the vagaries of the Deccan climate, which reduced them alternately to quagmires and dust-bowls as the rains came and went. Local labour was unreliable and the railways opposed any competition to their monopoly of long-distance travel, so the airline never really got off the ground; only a fraction of the authorised capital was subscribed in cash and the Indian government, having burnt their fingers on the Karachi-Bombay airmail, refused to subsidise any private undertaking. Although few records remain, it seems that the Ruler of Morvi took up a large proportion of the shares actually subscribed and was allotted HP-11 for his private use, with the registration G-IAAC. While an aerodrome was being prepared at Morvi, HP-11 was flown at Calcutta on various charters; on one occasion it flew over the city dropping leaflets, which were promptly seized in the air and carried off by crows and kites. It is also recorded that on 17 October, 1920, Charles Manson Mann was married to Vera Kathleen Gardner while flying over Calcutta at 6,000 ft in a Handley Page; the passengers included eight guests in addition to the clergyman and bridal party. This event almost certainly took place in HP-11, but this aeroplane was destroyed on the ground by a gale soon afterwards; a replacement was ordered urgently from Cricklewood. Thereafter the Handley Page Indo-Burmese Transport Co restricted its activities to short-range charter and express parcel work, using D.H.9s except when a full Handley Page load was offered, but liquidation became inevitable in July 1921 and all the company's assets were sold by auction in September to the Calcutta motorcar firm, G. McKenzie Ltd.
At home, Handley Page Transport Ltd had maintained their share of cross-Channel traffic since the end of the rail strike in October 1919 and now offered numbered bookable seats on both the Paris and Brussels routes, also lunch baskets at three shillings each. On 22 October, 1919, their newly recruited pilot, Captain Robert Henry McIntosh, late of No.214 Squadron and No. 1 (Communication) Squadron, flew to Paris and back the same day carrying express freight, which was becoming an important item. The company soon proved its ability to carry safely and speedily such items as news films, scientific instruments, antiques and exotic flowers, all of which were vulnerable in rough handling by rail and sea; it had obtained an exclusive contract from Harrods to carry their imports of new dresses from Paris. In October 1919 Lt-Col Sholto Douglas resigned to return to the RAF and was succeeded as general manager by Major George Woods Humphery; in March 1920 Major Brackley became chief pilot on his return from Khartoum. On 10 January, 1920, Cricklewood was approved by the Home Secretary as a Port of Entry, although Customs facilities were not available until 17 February; meanwhile positioning flights from Cricklewood to Hounslow had to be maintained, with such occasional passengers as presented themselves. On one such flight on 3 February W. F. Jones had to land G-EALY with engine trouble in the Old Deer Park at Richmond, but flew out again without difficulty after rectifying the defect. Meanwhile, the Brussels service ceased until direct flying from Cricklewood could begin. Season tickets were offered on the Paris route at ?120 for ten return flights to encourage a larger proportion of passengers, but it was soon evident that thrice-weekly freight services were paying better than daily passenger flights. In March 1920, Handley Page brought off his famous ?1,000,000 deal to acquire all the assets and stock of the Aircraft Disposals Board for ten per cent of their original cost and during the next six months thirteen more O/400s were selected for the Handley Page Transport Co's fleet and modified to a standard approximating to the O/7, with similar nacelle fuel tanks and full length payload accommodation in the fuselage. A further O/400, G-EASO (ex D5444), was specially prepared for an attempt to win a prize of ?10,000 offered by the Daily Express for the first flight to India and back carrying a payload of not less than 1,200 lb. It was to be flown by Major A. S. C. MacLaren and Captain J. A. Barton, with Sergt Major H. H. Perry as rigger and R. G. Smith of Napiers as fitter, since it was the first and only 0/400 to have Napier Lions installed in place of Rolls-Royce Eagles; by 14 May it was ready to start from Waddon, having been named Old Carthusian II in memory of MacLaren's earlier flight to India in the V/1500 J1936, but the RAF reported Arab unrest in the Cairo-Baghdad sector and the Foreign Office prohibited the competitors from flying beyond Egypt; consequently the attempt was called off and G-EASO went back into storage after its borrowed Lion engines had been removed. In March 1920 the first six new 0/400 civil conversions, G-EASL (ex C9699), G-EASM (ex C9731), G-EASN (ex D4611), G-EASX (ex F308), G-EASY (ex D4614) and G-EASZ (ex F310) emerged from Cricklewood as O/11s, having their fuselages unfurnished, for carrying cargo and mails, except for a small cabin for three passengers at the aft end and seats for two passengers in the nose cockpit. The first three were mainly employed on the new airmail contract to Brussels and Amsterdam, but when the summer tourist traffic increased in June G-EASY and G-EASZ were further modified to the former O/7 standard, with seats for ten passengers and windows the whole length of the cabin, being then designated O/10. These were so immediately successful that a further seven O/10s were converted from O/400s in July and August: G-EATG (ex D4618), G-EATH (ex D4631), G-EATJ (ex F307), G-EATK (ex J2262), G-EATL (ex F312), G-EATM (ex D4609) and G-EATN (ex J2261); G-EASX remained in reserve as an O/11 till October, when it was the only immediately available replacement for the Thakur Saheb of Morvi's O/7 in India. It was urgently trimmed and furnished in pink silk to the same standard as HP-11, but at the Thakur Saheb's request was painted pink externally as well as inside, the nacelles being blue as before; this striking colour scheme was executed in a high gloss varnish and inevitably the machine was known in the works as 'The Pink Elephant'. With its conversion number HP-34 on the tail and the re-issued Indian registration G-IAAC, it was test flown at Cricklewood and granted C of A N o.426 on 15 October, 1920, being the last civil O/400 variant to receive one. It was shipped to Calcutta in eleven crates at the end of November and flown to Morvi by Captain A. F. Muir early in 1921 but its subsequent history is obscure, since the Thakur Saheb died without issue in July 1922; Morvi then joined neighbouring states in a federation whose allegiance to either India or Pakistan remained undecided at the partition in 1947 and not resolved until the Rann of Cutch dispute was settled in 1969.
The three original O/11s gave good service in the Handley Page Transport Co's fleet, which by December 1920 had carried over 4,000 passengers in a total mileage of 320,000 without a single fatality, but on 14 December Robert Bager took off in the (limited) easterly direction at Cricklewood in G-EAMA, failed to clear a tree on the boundary and crashed into a back garden at Childs' Hill. Bager and his mechanic J. H. Williams were killed, together with the two passengers in the front cabin, but the three other passengers escaped through the rear cabin windows before fire broke out; Eric Studd, the sole occupant of the nose cockpit, was thrown clear, but when the rescue party arrived he was nowhere to be found and was feared lost in the wreckage; next day he was seen in Paris, having no clear memory of how he got there; apparently he had been knocked out in the crash and on recovering consciousness in the garden had remembered only that he had to go urgently to Paris, so he had taken the Underground to Victoria Station and travelled on the boat train via Dover and Calais.
The loss of G-EAMA was an indication that the O/400 had not enough performance in reserve to maintain scheduled flights under adverse weather conditions and, moreover, that, as engines and airframes wore out with use, their performance was likely to deteriorate further. In a tour of Switzerland during September to explore the route beyond Paris to Basle and Zurich, Walter Hope had found G-EATL difficult to handle in valley cross-winds and down-draughts and on 14 September the pilot of G-EASL had been reported for flying over Golders Green at only 100 ft; residents in Kilburn complained that Handley Pages taking off in a southwest wind flew low enough to blow soot down their chimneys, while one newspaper correspondent claimed that it was dangerous even to stand up on the top deck of a tramcar between Cricklewood Broadway and the Welsh Harp! To add to Handley Page's troubles he had been sued in America by the Wright Corporation for infringement of the Wright patents and prohibited from starting a proposed air freight service with O/400s to be supplied by the Aircraft Disposal Co. At home, both Handley Page Transport Ltd and their compatriots AT & T and the Instone Air Line, had lost traffic to the French airlines, which received a substantial government subsidy and could thus undercut the true economic fares. The Cricklewood-Amsterdam route had to be abandoned at the end of October and on 17 November the Paris passenger service was reduced to three days a week; a month later AT & T suspended their operations permanently and finally all British commercial air traffic ceased on 28 February, 1921.
Two days later, Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for Air, appointed Lord Londonderry as chairman of a committee set up to examine the question of subsidies for cross-Channel air services. Terms were agreed within a fortnight and Handley Page Transport, now managed by Edward Cogni, began flying to Paris again on 19 March, Instone following suit two days later; the new fares were ?6-6s single and ?12 return, the same as the French airlines were charging. First away under the new agreement was W. L. Hope in G-EATM with seven passengers, but traffic was slow to return and in April, when their Cs of A expired, the three O/11s, G-EASL, 'SM and 'SN, were scrapped and the two original O/10s, G-EASY and 'SZ, were shipped to Calcutta, but arrived too late to be re-erected before the demise of the Indian company. Meanwhile Handley Page had gone to America and George Volkert had accepted an invitation to join Colonel Sempill's naval mission to Japan. Under pressure from the residents of Cricklewood and Hendon, the Air Ministry requested Cogni to transfer Handley Page Transport's operations to the new air terminal at Croydon, which had replaced Hounslow in March 1920; Cricklewood ceased to be a Customs airport on 29 May, 1921, the last service out being flown by McIntosh in G-EATM the day before. The service from Croydon was maintained by G-EATK, 'TM and 'TN, the last of which had earlier been equipped with an Aveline automatic stabiliser for test by Brackley. It was soon found that O/10s had much more difficulty in taking off from Croydon than from Cricklewood; indeed, on the first flight out of Croydon with a southwest wind curling over the Purley ridge, Wilcockson was barely able to get airborne with eight passengers and was forced back to the ground near the waterworks with the engines still at full throttle; later it was found that the cargo hold had been overloaded in error. Handley Page was still detained in America, but called in Colonel W. A. Bristow of Ogilvie & Partners to investigate the loss of performance, which was traced to bad maintenance, rather than age or mishandling. The permitted number of passengers, already reduced from eleven to eight, was temporarily still further restricted to five and on 21 June, H. H. Perry (who had been appointed chief pilot to the Aircraft Disposal Co on leaving the RAF) flew G-EAKG to Martlesham Heath for check weighing and to get an official ruling on the permissible number of passengers. Colonel Bristow had found variations of up to 500 lb between the weights of individual machines, due to differences in wireless equipment and repair schemes, while the Aveline auto-control in G-EATN accounted for 150 lb. Soon there were changes in the maintenance staff and the new engineering manager, W. P. Savage, by careful re-rigging and engine tuning, regained some of the lost performance. Air Ministry approval was eventually given for eight passengers to be carried with full Marconi radio installed, for pilots were reluctant to save weight by reducing radio equipment, which was compulsory on cross- Channel flights for weather information as well as position checks. How valuable radio had become was indicated on 20 October, when McIntosh, with Dismore as his radio operator, flew in from Paris with six passengers in G-EATH, and was 'talked down' by Colonel Bristow to a safe landing at Croydon in dense fog, which had grounded all other incoming air traffic at Tonbridge. This widely reported incident earned McIntosh his famous nickname 'All-weather Mac', but many years later he confessed that in actual fact he had lost his trailing aerial in a tree on the North Downs near Sevenoaks, so his wireless was 'dead' before the talk-down began. His actual method when, as on this day, the fog blanket was shallow enough, was to fly above it till he could see the tops of the two towers of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham; by lining these up and letting down to 200 ft for 4/ miles while flying at a steady 65 mph, he could arrive at Croydon airport with great precision. Previously, radio telephony had been used on 20 November, 1920, to instruct a Handley Page pilot to land at Croydon instead of Cricklewood; on 26 November, 1920, to order a similar diversion, but then to countermand it, with a safe landing at Cricklewood assisted by rocket signals; and on 15 January, 1921, to request rockets and a searchlight for a landing after dark at Lympne, the call being made from mid-Channel. The fleet was halved in 1921, for G-EAAG and G-EASL had been written off after crashes in April 1920, G-EAAE and G-EAKG were scrapped in August 1920 and 'KF, 'LY, 'LZ and 'MB two months later. After Bager's fatal crash in 'MA in December, the next casualty was G-EALX in April 1921, scrapped after a heavy landing which made repair uneconomic, but several other mishaps were survived by the aircraft involved. Thus on 2 November McIntosh, with three passengers from Paris on board, landed G-EATM safely at Crowhurst after shedding the starboard reduction gear and airscrew; after a new engine had been installed, he flew it back to Croydon on the 5th; but three days later exactly the same thing happened to him in another O/10 inbound from Brussels, while over the coast near Folkestone at only 600 ft, below heavy cloud; with five excitable passengers in a state of panic running up and down the length of the cabin, he nevertheless managed to land safely in a field full of cattle, just short of Lympne. Both W. L. Rogers and Gordon Olley claimed the record of seventeen forced landings between Croydon and Paris in a single journey, and normally the O/400 was easy to handle in such an emergency, with its exceptionally low wing loading of 8 lb/sq ft. However, it was sensitive to large longitudinal movements of the centre of gravity, as McIntosh found on an unscheduled flight in an O/10 bringing back a crew of fitters and riggers, who decided to play darts in the empty cabin and caused violent changes of fore and aft trim. With a cruising speed of less than 80 mph it was difficult to maintain schedules in winter against headwinds, as for instance on 2 January, 1922, when an O/10 spent over 5 hours en route from Le Bourget to Croydon in face of a northerly gale. Only four days earlier, McIntosh and Wilcockson had taken off from Le Bourget in similar conditions in 'TN and 'TM respectively at the same time - 11.20 a.m. 'TM's engines overheated, so Wilcockson landed at Berck-sur-Mer to cool off and had just disembarked his passengers when a sudden gust cartwheeled the aircraft on to its back and wrecked it. McIntosh, who had been about to land to render assistance, just had time to change his mind and bang the throttles wide open - 'TN went up like a lift to 3,000 ft and reached Croydon after a journey time of 4 hr 35 min. G-EATM was a write-off that day, leaving only 'TH and 'TN available, since 'TG, 'TJ and 'TL were being overhauled and 'TK had been flown to Filton by McIntosh on 21 December for Bristol Jupiter air-cooled radial engines to be installed for service trials; this job was completed by the end of January, but meanwhile McIntosh had crashed 'TN at Senlis, between Beauvais and Le Bourget, in a fog blanket forecast as having cloudbase at 300 ft, but in fact continuous down to ground level. With only two passengers aboard and Dismore as radio operator, he was groping his way down, expecting to break cloud over Le Bourget, whence he could get no radio reply; he was knocked out and his feet were trapped between the floorboards and the rudder bar. Dismore, though in pain with three broken ribs, checked that the two passengers were only shaken and the three of them managed to free McIntosh, who expected fire to break out at any moment. He was unable to walk for several months and G-EATK, with its Jupiters installed on 5 February, was collected from Filton by Gordon Olley. For a few weeks only G-EATH remained serviceable for regular schedules and, to augment the Handley Page Transport fleet, the Air Ministry loaned the Bristol Ten-seater G-EAWY and D.H.18 G-EAWX previously assigned to Instone. With a total of 850 hp for take-off, G-EATK had a much enhanced performance and could be flown at full weight with either Jupiter dead; it was demonstrated before the Air Conference delegates at Croydon on 6 February and flown by Olley to Le Bourget on 16 March for further demonstrations to French officials in support of the licence to manufacture Jupiters then being negotiated between the Bristol and Gnome-Rhone companies. Olley flew it back to Croydon on the 23rd and on to Filton next day, the Jupiters then being removed and the Eagles reinstalled. Although the Jupiters saved 900 lb in empty weight and G-EATK could climb to 3,000 ft in 6 1/4 min at a gross weight of 12,000 lb, the remaining O/10s were considered to be too nearly obsolete for such rejuvenation to be worth while; so G-EATK was withdrawn from use on 9 June, when McIntosh, returning from convalescence, flew it to Cricklewood for storage; it was scrapped there at the end of the year, together with G-EAAW, 'TG, 'TJ and 'TL; only G-EATH was kept serviceable at Croydon to supplement the W.8bs which had taken over the principal schedules in May and June. Although not regularly flown in passenger traffic, G-EATH was overhauled a year later and opened a new extension service from Paris to Basle and Zurich on 16 August, 1923, being again flown by McIntosh, with Sir Sefton Brancker and Sir Francis Festing among the passengers; for two months it flew out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, returning on the alternate weekdays, but in spite of a joint Anglo-Swiss subsidy the service was reduced to once weekly after the summer season ended in October.
Thereafter G-EATH, nominally in reserve, was picketed out in the open at Plough Lane and steadfastly resisted the worst the weather could do, until it was finally broken up in June 1925 when the site was cleared. It was thus the only O/10 to pass into the ownership of Imperial Airways in March 1924 and by then had long outlived the last O/400 in RAF service or anywhere else, although there was an unconfirmed report of G-IAAA (HP-8) having survived the Indian debacle of 1921, to reach Egypt (presumably as deck cargo) in 1924; it appears also that G-EAAF was still extant in the USA in 1925, when it was on view at the National Air Races at Roosevelt Field.
O/7, O/10 and O/11 (Two Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII)
Span 100 ft (30-5 m); length 62 ft 10 in (19-2 m); wing area 1,648 sq ft (153 m2). Empty weight 8,326 lb (3,800 kg); maximum weight 12,050 lb (5,470 kg). Speed 97 mph (156 km/h); endurance 7 1/2 hr. Crew two. Passengers O/7 - fourteen, O/10 - twelve, O/11 - five.
J.Stroud The World's Airliners (Putnam)
The second British airline to work cross-Channel services was Handley Page Transport, which began flying London-Paris services on 2 September 1919, with a fleet of O/400 type aircraft. There were several versions of the civil O/400 but they differed only in interior layout and fuel systems. One version, the O/11, was mainly used for cargo. Two of the passenger seats in the Handley Pages were in an open cockpit in the nose and these provided a wonderful view in summer but were freezingly cold in winter and very unpleasant in rain, hail and snow. The O/400s were much more comfortable than the D.H.4As and D.H.16s but were very slow and often took more than four hours to fly the just over 200 miles from London to Paris.
Flight, June 12, 1919.
LONDON AND BOURNEMOUTH AIR SERVICE
FRIDAY last saw the opening of the aerial passenger service between London and Bournemouth, which has been inaugurated by the Bournemouth Aviation Co. The machine used was one of the twin-engined Handley-Page biplanes, and the pilot was Lieut. Walker. Four passengers were carried, and, as was fitting for the occasion, three of these Were Mr. E. E. Bishop, Mayor of Bournemouth, ex-Mayor Alderman Robson, and Mr. Herbert Ashling, the Town Clerk. FLIGHT photographer made the fourth passenger, and some of the photographic records of this trip which he was able to secure appear in this issue.
Cricklewood aerodrome was left at 4.15 p.m. (a little later than was arranged), and flying at various heights up to 2,000 ft. the machine made a steady, uneventful journey, in ideal - if somewhat soporific - weather, arriving at Bournemouth aerodrome at 6 p.m. Most of the time visibility was poor, owing to heat mist, but many well-known landmarks - such as Brooklands, Winchester Cathedral, Southampton Docks with its large liners, etc. - were nevertheless spotted. Arriving over Bournemouth, a tour of inspection was made of the "front" from Southbourne to Bournemouth West Cliff before landing in the aerodrome. On landing, the Mayor received a very hearty welcome from the many hundreds of people who had gathered to await his arrival. As a sample of air travel the trip was a delightful experience, and we can well believe that the vogue of tripping to Bournemouth by the air-way should be very pronounced.
Flight, August 21, 1919.
THE E.L.T.A. SHOW
THE AIRCRAFT EXHIBITION
The British Section
HANDLEY PAGE, LTD.
On the aerodrome is one of the 2-engined H.Ps. of the O-400 type, similar to those delivered to the Chinese Government. It has a luxuriously fitted-up cabin seating 14 passengers, who look down upon the country below through a series of windows in the sides. There are curtains over the windows, and for use at night the cabin is lighted by electricity. The machine is also provided with all necessary conveniences. Owing to the present soft condition of the aerodrome, the machine is not doing any flying, but as soon as the ground has hardened sufficiently, there is not the slightest doubt that it will be kept very busy carrying passengers.
Flight, October 2, 1919.
THE "ARRIVAL" OF THE REGULAR AIR SERVICE
The Handley Page Machines
Both the London-Paris and the London-Brussels machines used by the Handley Page Company are of the O/400 type, modified, of course, to accommodate passengers instead of the "eggs" which this type used to lay on the Huns during the War. As many as 18 people can be carried, 14 inside the cabin and 4 outside. As used for the Paris and Brussels services, however, 10 passengers are carried with their luggage, and the machines have a further disposable lift of 500 lbs., which may take the form of mail, general freight, etc. The passengers' cabin is comfortably fitted out, as shown in one of the accompanying photographs, wicker seats being provided along each side. Through windows in the side of the cabin an excellent view is obtained of the country over which the machine is passing. The two Rolls-Royce engines are placed between the planes, and drive each a tractor airscrew.