Handley Page Hermes

Type of aircraft / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Handley Page HP.81 Hermes was a civilian airliner designed and produced by the British aircraft manufacturer Handley Page.

Quick facts: HP.81 Hermes, Role, Manufacturer, First fligh...
HP.81 Hermes
Hermes IV of Air Safaris at Manchester Airport in 1961
Role Airliner
Manufacturer Handley Page
First flight 2 December 1945
Introduction 6 August 1950
Retired 1965
Primary user BOAC
Produced 1945–1951
Number built 29
Developed from Handley Page Hastings
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The Hermes was developed during the 1940s in parallel with the closely related Handley Page Hastings military transport. It was a low-wing monoplane, with most examples being powered by four piston engines. Originally intended to enter service in advance of the Hastings, development of the Hermes was delayed by the fatal loss of the first prototype during its maiden flight on 2 December 1945. Measures were taken to improve the airliner's stability as well as to expand its capacity, which sufficiently impressed the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) into placing a sizeable order for 25 HP 81 Hermes IV on 4 February 1947. A pair of turboprop-powered development aircraft were also ordered by the Ministry of Supply for experimental flights.

The Hermes entered airline service on 6 August 1950, having been delayed be roughly one year due to initial production aircraft being overweight. They would be operated by BOAC, the most prominent operator of the type, for less than a decade before they were sold onto other operators largely due to the rapid advances in airliners made during this era. During its later years of service, second hand Hermes were routinely used by various charter airlines. The final Hermes flight was performed sometimes during 1969, by which point most of the type had already been scrapped as obsolete. A single example has been preserved.