C.Barnes Handley Page Aircraft since 1907 (Putnam)
Early Two-Seat Monoplanes E, F and H (H.P.5 and 6)
With Edward Petre’s unflagging energy and enthusiasm in the Barking factory, and a wind-tunnel readily available at the Northampton Institute, Handley Page made quick progress with the design of a tandem two-seat monoplane, Type E, hoping that it might be suitable for the Army aeroplane competition promoted by the War Office in the closing weeks of 1911; but when the proposed rules were announced, he declared the specified gliding angle (even if capable of being measured in actual flight) to be unattainable and the prize money much too small to compensate for the effort entailed. Then the stock of the Aeronautical Syndicate Ltd, including several 50 hp and 70 hp Gnome engines with spares, came on to the market and Handley Page snapped it up at a bargain price; having taken his pick and sold the remainder at a fair profit to George Holt Thomas, Handley Page was left with an ample supply of new materials and decided to complete Type E as a demonstration machine and to build an improved monoplane to match the War Office specification as closely as possible; to assist with the latter he enlisted the aid of Edward Petre’s elder brother Henry. The best of the ex-ASL 50 hp Gnomes was installed in Type E on completion in April, and on the 26th Edward Petre flew it for several straight hops at Fairlop. Before long he was flying circuits and by the end of June was confident enough to fly six miles across country to the Barking works; considerable damage resulted in the unavoidably difficult landing on rough ground, but the engine was unharmed and the machine was improved during the necessary rebuilding. As soon as repairs were completed, Petre’s qualifying flights for a Royal Aero Club certificate (No.259) were officially observed at Fairlop by Tom O’Brien Hubbard and C. G. Grey on 24 July. On 27 July he flew Type E from Fairlop to Brooklands via Rainham and along the course of the Thames to Kew; this was the only legal route across London since flying over built-up areas was prohibited, and his time for this tortuous passage of 55 miles was 50 minutes, in gusty weather but helped along by an easterly wind.
As it first appeared at Brooklands, Type E was a handsome monoplane, similar to Type D (as rebuilt) but more robust. The two-spar crescent wings had extended flexible trailing edges near the wing-tips, somewhat in the Etrich style, and the fuselage was basically a rectangular frame of four ash longerons, tapering to a vertical wedge at the tail and extended below by a deep curved keel to form a deep belly of triangular section; it was wire-braced and fabric-covered, being faired by decking and stringers to a more or less streamline form. The cabane structure comprised two inverted V-struts rising from the wing spar root fittings and joined above the centreline by a horizontal tie-rod; at the outer ends of the rear spar, the wing was braced by kingposts to restrict spanwise flexure, leaving the wing-tips to twist in response to the warp control. The small rear cockpit was occupied by the passenger, while the pilot in the larger front cockpit had the same type of handwheel and central control column as in Type D. The original grey rubberised fabric had been replaced during rebuilding by linen tautened and proofed by cellulose nitrate dope, and smartly finished in yellow varnish for the wings and tail, and blue varnish for the fuselage, specially produced by Jenson & Nicholson Ltd whom Handley Page had encouraged to experiment with cellulose lacquers after their success in producing ‘Robbialac’ enamels for bicycles and automobiles. At Brooklands it quickly acquired Type D’s earlier soubriquet Yellow Peril which pleased Handley Page but has often confused latter-day historians. The tail surfaces consisted of a slender triangular tailplane with divided semi-elliptic elevators and a rudder of similar shape, with a long narrow fixed fin above the tailplane. The sturdy landing gear comprised a central skid and two wheels carried on centre-hinged swing-axles and spring-loaded telescopic struts, together with a long resilient tailskid. In front of the pilot’s cockpit and under the decking behind the engine mounting plate were installed side by side a pair of cylindrical tanks, for petrol to starboard and oil to port, each having a vertical sight glass in the rear end; the petrol tank was pressurised by air from a handpump at the pilot’s right hand, near the magneto switch; the only instruments were an engine tachometer in the centre dash panel between the tank ends and a petrol feed air-pressure gauge on the port side. The engine was carried on an overhung mounting and enclosed above in a partial cowl whose function was primarily to prevent oil being thrown back on to the pilot’s goggles.
Type E remained at Brooklands during August while the military trials on Salisbury Plain claimed a temporary diversion of interest, and during this period Handley Page moved his factory from Barking to Cricklewood, with a flight hangar at Hendon, to which Type E should have been flown on 28 September to join a review by Major Carden, RE; but Petre was indisposed and on 5 October Lieutenant Wilfred Parke, RN, ferried it across from Brooklands to Hendon and was so well pleased that he continued flying it next day for some hours, taking up several passengers including Mrs de Beauvoir Stocks and Eric Clift, the latter having installed a compass of his own design. On the following Sunday, 13 October, Parke took up a dozen passengers, including Robert Blackburn and the Hendon aerodrome manager Richard Gates; then he took up two children (a total live load of 367 lb) for 20 minutes and finally flew to Brooklands with Mr Nicholson of Jenson & Nicholson, before returning to Hendon; during these two weekends at Hendon, Parke had carried 28 passengers. He flew it again on 20 October, making a careful assessment of its handling and stability, and Handley Page invited several other pilots to sample it, but on 31 October one of them, Desmond Arthur, flew too low and scraped the railings, breaking the airscrew, one wing-tip and one landing wheel.
During repairs at Cricklewood, a revised fin of triangular shape was fitted and Type E’s first flight in this form was made by Sydney Pickles on 1 February, 1913, and after several circuits he reported a distinct improvement in its flying qualities. Next day Pickles was up at dawn taking up three passengers for short joy-rides, before setting out with Cyril Meredith, newly appointed works manager, to fly to Barking. Although the wind had risen to 20 mph at ground level, they made a start, but found half a gale higher up, blowing from the southeast, and after 30 minutes in the air had only succeeded in reaching Sudbury, a mere five miles from Hendon and in the wrong direction; so they abandoned their journey and returned to their starting point in six minutes; this was a striking demonstration of the value of automatic stability in rough weather. Type E then returned to the works to be cleaned up for exhibition at the 1913 Olympia Aero Show which opened on 14 February. A Stolz Electrophone, for communication between pilot and passenger, was installed and this was favourably noted by King George V when he visited stand No. 54 after declaring the show open. The Handley Page show brochure was decorated on its front cover with a perspective outline sketch of Type E - the first drawing made by George Volkert at Cricklewood, but he immediately followed this up with a scheme to convert the lateral control from warping to ailerons. As soon as this design was complete, a new pair of wings with ailerons was made and these were fitted during April; on 1 May Type E was flown for 45 minutes by the firm’s newly appointed staff pilot Ronald Whitehouse, who reported that the ailerons had cured the former tendency to roll from side to side in level flight. On 10 May Pickles flew it again, via Brooklands and Farnborough, to take part in exhibition flights at Winchester polo ground, returning on the 17th in time for the Hendon race meeting, in which he flew in the 16 miles cross-country handicap, followed by Whitehouse in the speed handicap. On the 25th Whitehouse burst a tyre while landing, without any damage, and on the following Sunday he took up his mother for her first flight, which she much enjoyed.
A fortnight later Whitehouse began a series of exhibition flights in provincial towns, starting with Buxton, Leicester and Mansfield, moving onto Lincoln for a week, then into Yorkshire to Hull and Beverley. Most of these four-day programmes included races and more or less spectacular stunts, such as bombing with flour-bags. Unrehearsed incidents were inevitable and at Hull Whitehouse was forbidden to fly within the city boundary on Sunday 13 July, the Mayor having invoked the Lord’s Day Observance Act of 1625, with the support of the Wesleyan mission and the Hull Education Committee; on the previous evening Whitehouse had decided to defy the ban, but then, as if by divine intervention, had taxied into a watery ditch, breaking the skid and airscrew; he wired urgently to Hendon for spares, which arrived by train next morning after he had worked all night stripping the damage, and by Sunday evening he was airborne once more, to the cheers of 7,000 Sabbath-breakers, some half of whom had had their names taken by the police; however, on finding that the display had taken place outside the city limits, the Hull magistrates declined to issue summonses, and were perhaps swayed by the legal argument that, under a much earlier Act, a monoplane might be held to be an arrow, which made the assembly a perfectly lawful archery practice. Whitehouse’s effort was indeed exceptional, for the engine had been entirely submerged for over four hours during initial salvage; in return his admirers in Hull presented him with a purse of gold sovereigns. After four days at Hull, he continued his tour and concluded with four days at Burton-on-Trent over the August Bank Holiday week-end. He then flew Type E back to Hendon, where Handley Page reluctantly prepared to fly it himself in consequence of his ill-advised wager with Noel Pemberton Billing on 17 September, but was fortunately relieved of this trial by ordeal by Pemberton Billing’s early success.
By this time Type E had carried several hundred passengers and had flown several thousand miles across country, so was due for a major overhaul. With his new Type G biplane nearing completion, Handley Page agreed to make Type E available to George Beatty, who had just inaugurated a flying school at Hendon, with Edouard Baumann as assistant chief instructor. For this purpose it was converted into a single-seater with the rear cockpit deleted and the cabane modified to a pyramid structure; at the same time the original landing gear was replaced by a twin-skid cross-axle chassis of B.E.2 pattern; some time earlier a simplified rubber-sprung tailskid had been fitted. Intended for use by advanced pupils who had gone solo, Type E was first flown as a single-seater on 4 July, 1914, by Baumann and a week later his best pupil Ruffy began flying it solo, but with the outbreak of war in August it was requisitioned, only to be rejected as unfit for Service use, although its engine was retained. After being returned to Cricklewood it was stored for many years, being brought out in July 1919 to take part in the ‘Victory Parade’ which celebrated the signing of the Versailles Treaty, and later again at the official opening of Radlett aerodrome by Prince George in July 1930. Thereafter it hung in the rafters above ‘Archdale Alley’ until 1940 as one of Handley Page’s most cherished relics; then works manager James Hamilton, urgently needing more space, unwarily consigned it to the incinerator without the owner’s knowledge (and had his knuckles rapped later), but it had already become so decrepit that continued preservation would have been difficult.
E/50 (50 hp Gnome)
Span 42 ft 6 in (12-9 m); length 28 ft 2 in (8-6 m); wing area 240 sq ft (22-3 m2). Empty weight 800 lb (363 kg); loaded weight 1,300 lb (590 kg). Speed 60 mph (96 km/h); endurance 3 hr. Pilot and passenger (tandem). (Length after rebuild as single-seater 27 ft (8-23 m)).
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 E H.P.5
The H.P.5 two-seat tractor monoplane may be termed the first really successful Handley Page aeroplane. It was built at Barking in 1911, making its first flight towards the end of 1911 at Fairlop in the hands of Edward Petre, otherwise known as Peter the Painter.
The machine owed a great deal of its stability to the perseverance of Frederick Handley Page with the principle, pioneered by Jose Weiss, of the curved, swept-back wing plan-form, combined with wash-out at the tips. Warping of the flexible tips was used for lateral control, the wings being strongly braced from the central cabane and the outboard kingposts. The fuselage was of good streamline form with a deep forward belly to house the crew, who received additional protection against the 50 h.p. Gnome's oil and exhaust from the well-shaped cowling over the upper part of the engine. A very sturdy unit with a long central skid comprised the undercarriage. The H.P.5 was given a pleasing colour scheme of blue fuselage and tailplane, together with wings, elevators, fin and rudder of white rubberized canvas.
In attempting a flight from Fairlop to Barking the H.P.5 crashed, and was afterwards rebuilt. At the same time, several alterations were made to the airframe, including the substitution of a fin of curved shape in place of the original rectangular form. Edward Petre then used the machine to qualify at Fairlop on 24th July, 1912, for his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 259. In the same year the H.P.5 distinguished itself by becoming the first aeroplane to fly over London, a feat accomplished by Petre when he flew it from Fairlop to Brooklands in 55 minutes. Later in 1912 it was flown at Hendon by Lt. Wilfred Parke, R.N., who managed to take two passengers aloft in it. He was very enthusiastic about the machine's fine, stable flying qualities, and so was Sydney Pickles who flew the H.P.5 at Hendon during February, 1913, prior to its display again at the Olympia Aero Show of that year.
Further changes were made to the monoplane, and included the deletion of the rear cockpit and the extension rearwards of the front cockpit so that both seats were housed in it. One of the most significant of these alterations was the abandonment of the warping system of the wings and the fitting in its place of ailerons at the tips. The separate pairs of inverted-vee cabane struts were modified to a pyramid structure over the front of the cockpit. The single central skid of the undercarriage was abandoned in the new unit fitted which incorporated twin skids; the tailskid also was modified.
During the summer of 1913, Sydney Pickles and E. Ronald Whitehouse flew the machine on a very successful tour around the Provinces, on its own and in conjunction with W. Rowland Ding's Scientific and Instructive Aviation Co. Ltd., of St. Albans, Herts.
Description: Two-seat tractor monoplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: Handley Page Ltd., Barking, Essex.
Power Plant: 50 h.p. Gnome.
Dimensions: Span, 42 ft. 3 ins. Length, 29 ft. 2 ins. Height, 9 ft. 4 ins. Wing area, 240 sq. ft.
Weights: Empty, 750 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed, 60 m.p.h. Endurance, 3 hrs. Price: ?850.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1913
HANDLEY-PAGE Monoplanes. Handley Page, 72,Victoria Street, S.W. Works: 110, Cricklewood Lane, N.W. Flying ground: Hendon. Established at the end of 1908. In June, 1909, it was turned into a Limited Liability Co. Since then it has been busily employed in producing its own machines, also others to inventor's specifications. About the end of 1911 the firm bought up and sold all the machines of the Aeronautical Syndicate--Valkyrie and Viking types. It is doubtful whether any of these V type still exist--in any case it does not matter. Four were presented to the R. Flying Corps. Of these one was smashed up, the others, one army and two navy, were used to teach mechanics to take down and reassemble engines, etc. Handley-Page also bought up the Radley-Moorhouse machines (Bleriot copies), and disposed of them.
The 1912-13 Handley-Page type is as follows--a development along regular lines of the original H.P. machine:---
Length, 27? feet (8.40 m.) span, 42 feet (12.95 m.) area, 240 sq. feet,(22? m?.)
Weight.--Total, 1300 lbs. (590 kgs.) Empty, 800 lbs. (363 kgs.)
Motor.--50 h.p. Gnome. Speed. 55 m.p.h. (90 km.)
Remarks.--The fixed tail area is 32 sq. feet. Body is entirely enclosed, stream line form. The passenger sits behind the pilot. Mounted on wheels and one long skid forward. Full description and details, Flight, 26th October, 1912.
Principal pilots have been the late E. Petre (who made in it the only flight through London), the late Lieut. Parke, R.N., S. Pickles, and L.R. Whitehouse. The machine has been flown with two passengers, in addition to the pilot.
Military work.--During 1912 five biplanes of the B.E. type were ordered by the British War Office.
Several monoplanes were ordered by foreign governments.
Flight, October 26, 1912.
THE HANDLEY PAGE MONOPLANE.
AMONG the disappointments of the Military Trials was the limited opportunity that they afforded for appreciating the proper merit of the Handley Page monoplane. The machine entered therein was one specially built to satisfy the conditions, as the firm's standard model, which had been flying quite well before the trials, was not suited to the requirements laid down by the tests. The trials machine, however, was unfortunately delayed in construction, and when at length it "got going" towards the end of the trials, a forced landing down wind damaged a wing, which put it out of action again for the few remaining days of the event. We thought then, and we think now, that it was particularly unfortunate that the machine in question was thus prevented, by a series of natural handicaps that are incidental to business of this sort, from performing in public and especially under the eye of the military observer, for although we have no cause to express an opinion one way or the other as to the probable military qualities of the machine, the fact remains that Mr. Handley Page has been bold enough to design on lines that are out of the ordinary, and has had the courage of his convictions to keep at work on the same main principle from the day that he first went into the industry.
Moreover, that principle is related to the problem of stability inherent in design, and the question of natural security in the air is one of even greater importance to aviation at large than is the evolution of a military aeroplane to the nation in particular. For these reasons, therefore, we consider that there is good cause to regard the virtual absence of the H.P. monoplane from the military trials both as a disappointment and a misfortune.
Since that event, however, the latest machine, which we illustrate by a series of photographs, sketches, and scale drawings, has been doing extremely good work at Hendon, whither the firm has transferred its flying headquarters from the secluded aerodrome at Barking where the pioneer days were spent. Probably all our readers are aware, and if they were not hitherto aware they will at least have observed already from a mere glance at the pictures, that the characteristic feature of the Handley Page monoplane is the crescent-shaped plan form of the leading edge of its wings. The crescent plan form is, however, not everything, for there are two other characteristics less easily illustrated in general views, which are of even greater importance to the stability, that it is the object of the design to obtain. One of these is the reversal of curvature of the wing section as it approaches the trailing edge, and the other is the graded camber from shoulder to tip, whereby the wing section measures some seven or eight inches deep where it is adjacent to the body, while the positive camber is entirely washed out at the upturned extremities.
These features - the crescent entering edge, the reversed curvature of the trailing edge, and the graded camber of the wing section from shoulder to tip - are all associated with the general problem of conferring on this machine a degree of inherent stability, which is its whole object and raison d'etre. The reversed curvature of the trailing edge introduces the principle of the fore and aft dihedral on a very short base; that is to say, while it tends to neutralise the retrogression of the centre of pressure, its lack of fore and aft length probably handicaps it in damping out any oscillation that has once commenced. Although it is claimed that the plane, as such, is naturally stable, the Handley Page monoplane in particular is fitted with a tail in order to enhance the natural damping tendency and to provide the pilot with adequate means of exaggerating the effect when necessary.
The lateral stability of the machine is associated with the graded loading and the retreated tip, and on this point Mr. Handley Page has a theory of his own, which we explained in FLIGHT some time ago, but of which we give another brief outline now for the benefit of our readers who have not studied the question previously. His argument is that the graded loading tends to produce a diagonally outward flow of the relative air stream under the wing tips. The effect of a side gust, according to the designer, is to change this diagonal outflow into a flow parallel to the body and so to diminish the relative velocity as illustrated by the vector thus produced in the triangle of velocities. Thus, Mr. Page argues that instead of increasing the relative velocity on the near wing that it is, in fact, reduced by a side gust, and that in consequence the near wing does not tend to tilt up.
The subject of lateral inherent stability and the theories properly to be associated with designs like the Handley Page is one that lends itself to extensive discussion, and some of our readers might with advantage take the matter up in our correspondence columns, for we feel sure that they would derive much interest therefrom. We are none too certain that a satisfactory explanation of the true theory in this matter has yet been advanced, and it is indeed unlikely that it should be until we know more about the nature and dimensions of a gust. For the time being, however, it is good mental exercise to picture possible effects on a broad scale, and to devise simple theories to suit the cases. Mr. Handley Page's theory belongs to this category, and should serve as a basis on which to open a discussion. Particularly, for example, would it be interesting to consider the influence of the change of effective chord length on the argument in question, for it will be obvious that when the relative wind blows obliquely across a wing, it suffers a different downward acceleration as compared with the conditions obtaining when it flows straight along the normal chord. It might well be, for instance, that a change of direction from an oblique to a fore and aft direction might actually increase the downward acceleration, and, therefore, the lift, in spite of the fact that the new velocity vector in the horizontal plane has been diminished. These considerations apart, however, the fact remains that many of those who have especially studied the question of inherent stability have come round to the view that the crescent entry and graded loading, carried to the point of a negative angle at the tips, are the principles that offer the greatest opportunities for a successful issue to their practical application. Jose Weiss was one of the first to experiment in this country with bird-like models - and you have only to look at a bird to see that the crescent entry, fixed shoulder and thin tip are characteristic features of many natural wings in flight - with which he attained a measure of success that has never received the recognition that is its due. Gordon England, as readers of FLIGHT will recollect, was the very courageous pilot who ventured to glide in these small man-carriers, which were devoid of all sort of mechanical control. Etrich is another well-known name associated with monoplane construction along these lines; while Dunne, who claims to have started his experiments with models of this description before anyone, is convinced that the true solution of inherent stability in wings that are not under muscular control lies in a modification of designs such as the Handley Page, whereby the entering edge is caused to dip more and more as it approaches the tip of the wing. Especial interest attaches to this idea, in view of the observations of Dr. Hankin, whose articles on bird flight will be fresh in the minds of our readers. It will be remembered that Dr. Hankin put it on record that the birds under his observation in India were in the habit of making stabilising and directional movements by turning down the leading edges of their wings. Wishing to confirm his observation by anatomical evidence of its possibility, he made a dissection, from which he found that muscular arrangement of birds' wings not only permitted of the movement described but were incapable of making any other movement that could possibly be mistaken for it. Arguing on broad lines, therefore, one may say of the Dunne that it is a wing with a permanently down-turned extremity in order to secure a constant "attitude" of stability so that it may be safe in emergency at the expense of, perhaps, some efficiency in normal flight.
It is hardly necessary for us to add any lengthy remarks on constructive detail of the H.P. monoplane, seeing that what is specially interesting forms the subject of sketches that are far clearer than words, while points that have not been sketched are not readily to be otherwise described. The whole design lends itself to a substantial and straightforward construction, the only difficult matter being the building of the first pair of new wings, which, as they have no two ribs alike, does involve some considerable labour and expense in the first instance. Once correctly proportioned, however, there is no difficulty in reproducing duplicates in the ordinary way. It is interesting to observe that the grading of the camber of the wings is effected almost entirely on the top surface, which permits of an exceptionally deep front spar and, at the same time, facilitates a gradual tapering thereof towards the extremities so that it can be built more in accordance with the principles of cantilever construction than is possible with a wing section uniform throughout and shallow enough at that.
Ash is the principal timber used in the construction, and the backbone of the machine, which is built of it, consists of a rectangular lattice girder that is entirely enclosed by fabric. Externally, this fuselage does not show its rectangular section, as the fabric is carried to a lower boom so as to provide a V section keel, and is also stretched over light formers above the girder so as to provide a kind of turtle-back deck.
Now that our readers have had an opportunity of studying the details of the machine more closely and of realising from the explanations of the designer himself what constitutes its raison d'etre in the world of flight, they will doubtless follow with especial interest its progress as recorded in the ordinary course of events in the news columns of FLIGHT, and they will doubtless feel with us that the firm well deserves success after its strenuous efforts to "get there." These efforts and the great expense that they have inevitably involved have been well worth while in any case. It is the price paid by the pioneer, and although the man who foots the bill may get little credit for his sporting determination to win, he can at least lay the flattering unction to his soul that he is none the worse off for the lack of it - if a material award does come later it will be doubly sweet on that account. Such quiet persistence is of the kind of which the flight industry is in the greatest need. Continual effort, and still more effort on the top of that, is the only thing that will put England uppermost in the air and it is the men who keep on doing it without worrying about immediate results who are building up to a pinnacle of future supremacy that we only trust they may live to see and enjoy.
Flight, February 8, 1913.
WHAT THERE WILL BE TO SEE AT OLYMPIA.
Messrs. Handley Page.
They will be showing their 50-h.p. Gnome-engined two-seater monoplane, which is a well-known machine at Hendon and Brooklands. It will be the identical machine that the late Mr. Edward Petre flew from Fairlop, through London, over the river Thames, to Richmond, and then on to Brooklands. The machine is distinctive by virtue of its gull-shaped wings which have negative incidence tips. Since it was constructed this monoplane has flown upwards of 2,000 miles and has carried scores of passengers. An interesting appliance with which it is fitted is a Stolz Electrophone by which the pilot and passenger are able to carry on a conversation quite easily, undisturbed by the noise of the engine exhaust. Reports have been current that Messrs. Handley Page would be exhibiting a biplane. The hydro-biplane to which these reports referred, however, is not yet in a sufficiently advanced stage of construction, and wisely enough, this firm of constructors have decided to show a well-tried machine rather than one which would have to be unduly hurried through the works. Their hydro-biplane, by the way, when it appears will be of the tractor type. Its planes will be of similar design to the wings of their monoplanes, and it will be driven by a 100-h.p. Green motor.
Flight, February 15, 1913.
MESSRS. HANDLEY PAGE, LTD.
The 50-h.p. two-seater monoplane exhibited on this stand is now more than a year old. Although it is in such excellent condition, thanks to the renovation it has undergone at the Handley Page works previous to being brought to Olympia, one would scarcely think to look at it that it had been in existence so long. But the fact that it has had severe use does not make it any the less interesting as an exhibit - rather the reverse. It has the distinction of being the only machine that has, so far, flown from one side of London to the other, following the course of the Thames. This was accomplished when the late Mr. Edward Petre flew it last year, from the old Handley Page testing grounds at Fairlop to Richmond and then on to Brooklands. During its lifetime the machine has flown upwards of 2,000 miles and has carried over a hundred passengers at different times.
The 50-h.p. Handley Page monoplane. - To the semi-interested spectator, the first point that catches the eye is the unusual gull-like shape of the wings. Probably many an onlooker will think that they have been shaped in this way for the sake of artistic effect. This, however, is not the case. A much more important consideration underlies their design. They are shaped thus in order that the machine as a whole may be, to a great extent, automatically stable in the air. And the intentions of the designer have been borne out by practical test with the machine, for it has accomplished many trips in high winds, keeping so steady that the pilot has scarcely ever been called upon to use the controls at all. Struck by a forward or a rearward gust, the machine will rise or fall bodily on a level keel as the case may be. A side gust will have the effect of making the machine roll slightly, but the machine, without any help from the controls at all, always returns automatically to its normal level attitude by virtue of the shape of its wings. Considering that the machine is only fitted with a 50 Gnome motor, its performances to date have been remarkably good, for it is not often that one can get a monoplane to fly so well as the Handley Page machine does, and carry a passenger and quite a considerable fuel supply, with an engine of such relatively low horse power. As a further consideration, it must be borne in mind that the machine in question does not come under the category of light monoplanes. Being considered an experimental machine at the time when it was built, no efforts were made to cut down weight. As the machine stands at present, it turns the scale at 850 lbs., but on further machines of this type, Mr. Handley Page calculates that 100 lbs. weight can be saved, without in any way weakening the strength of the structure.
The fuselage is a rectangular section box girder, having ash longitudinal members, and cross and vertical members of spruce and ash, ash being used at those points of the body where the greatest strains have to be borne. The body is brought to a pentagonal section by the application of a triangular keel to the base of the lattice girders. The girder of rectangular section, however, takes the whole of the body strain, the keel being added simply to improve the appearance of the machine and to reduce its head resistance. Protruding from the front of the body is a 50-h.p. Gnome motor, which is not supported by any bearing in front of the crank case. It revolves under an aluminium cowl, which prevents oil from being scattered broadcast by the engine. The wing spars are housed by two boxes suitably arranged on either side of the machine for that purpose, and strong ash struts are carried laterally across the body in their neighbourhood, to take the compression that is always existent in a structure of this type.
The wings, as we have remarked, are gull-shaped, that is, they have a crescent-shaped entering edge, and there is a graduated wash-out from root to tip, the tip being swept back and adjusted incident to the relative wind at a negative angle of incidence. The wing spars are both of ash, the front one being of I section and about 9 in. deep at the root. The rear spar is more of an H section, for the thickness of the wing is not so great where it is built into the structure. They are so designed that in no place will they be called upon to withstand a greater strain than 1,000 lbs. to the square inch. In their construction the ribs must have been the most difficult part of the whole machine, for, as the wing curve varies progressively from root to tip, every rib has a different camber and chord measurement. Solid Honduras mahogany ribs, occur at every few feet along the spars, and the plane sections between these ribs are kepi accurately shaped by false ribs of silver spruce. Longitudinal stringers also help to maintain the correct shape of the wings. The fabric is sewn on diagonally, and on the top surface, where the greater lift occurs, is very strongly attached by having cane strips tacked over it on to the ribs. The wings are stayed above and below by two strong stranded steel cables to the front spar, and three to the rear. A factor of safety of 14 is worked to in their design.
The landing gear consists of a central skid of ash, supporting the body by six ash struts set in three pairs and arranged V-fashioned, as one of our sketches shows. The wheels are mounted on axles, which are universally jointed to a fitting at the base of the middle chassis V, and, from a point near the wheel the body is supported on either side by a compression spring strut. The main lift wires from the wings are attached to a fitting which passes below the front pair of chassis struts.
In the interior of the fuselage there is seating accommodation for two, arranged in tandem, with the pilot in front. A good impression of the pilot's seat can be obtained from one of the accompanying sketches. Since that sketch was obtained, however, a supplementary instrument has been fitted, a Stolz electrophone to wit, which enables the pilot and passenger to carry on a conversation unhindered by the noise of the engine. An American, Mr. Hammer, is the inventor of this device. Throughout, the machine is treated over with Robbialac varnish. Weighing 850 lbs., the machine is capable of raising a useful load of 450 lbs. and of flying at a speed of 54 miles per hour. In future machines of this type, a flying speed of 58 miles per hour will be obtained with the same engine power.
Flight, October 29, 1915.
The second alternative referred to above is to obtain the required springing of the alighting wheels, not by making the axle itself flexible, but by running extra chassis members from a point on the axle just inside the wheel up to some portion of the body of the machine, and to incorporate with these members some form of shock absorbing device. This device may either be in the form of coil springs or rubber shock absorbers. An illustration of the former method is shown in the sketch of the undercarriage of the Handley-Page monoplane. Here the coil springs are enclosed in telescopic steel tubes, and the short piece of rubber shown in one of the detail sketches serves the double purpose of taking up the shock of the rebound and of preventing the inner tube from slipping out of the outer when the machine leaves the ground.