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|Hermes IV of Air Safaris at Manchester Airport in 1961|
|First flight||2 December 1945|
|Introduction||6 August 1950|
|Developed from||Handley Page Hastings|
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.