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Handley Page Hastings

Old 27th Jan 2011, 09:28
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I am quite surprised that the Hastings, of which I knew very little until this thread started, remained in service until the middle 70's. By that time I would guess that RAF Transport Command would have had a number of different types in service - Argosy, Andover, Comet, Britannia ?
I would have thought that these more modern types could have fulfilled most of the tasks of that era, so why did it remain in service for so long?
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 12:23
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I believe that the interior shots are of a VIP Hastings C4, if anyone can confirm this I would be grateful, they were on a page with a BOAC Constellation but I don't think it's a Connie interior.
Here is an interior diagram of the VIP C Mk.4

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Old 27th Jan 2011, 13:47
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Brakedwell thank you for posting the diagram, I think that confirms the photo's are of a C4.
A very interesting thread.
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 15:19
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why did it remain in service for so long?
cheap and reliable and could do the job intended
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 17:14
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I would have thought that these more modern types could have fulfilled most of the tasks of that era, so why did it remain in service for so long?
Interesting that that the Hastings, which was replaced by Argosies and Britannias on various transport squadrons should outlive the Argosy, Comet and Andover (C1 at least) and lasted about the same time as the Brit (1977 I believe). As storl tern implies it was a case of, if it aint broke, don't fix it, and there was no temptation to do an expensive refit on any of the types you mention.

Small point, in 1967 Transport Command was renamed Air Support Command and this in turn became 38 and 46 Groups in 1972. Pedant mode switched off now!

Last edited by Tankertrashnav; 27th Jan 2011 at 17:23. Reason: I always spell Britannia wrong!
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 19:00
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The Air Support Britannias (22) were gradually withdrawn from service between January 1975 and January 1976. In 1971 a BOAC/Eagle/Air Spain 312F was acquired by AAEE Boscombe Down to support overseas trials until it was retired in 1984.
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 19:28
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I posted this in March 2009 and got no response. Now that more people are showing an interest in Hastings I'll try again.
------------------
A friend in the pub just happened to mention that hed once done a wheels up at Khartoum in a Hastings. Sort of thing youd drop into any flagging conversation. Anyway, he showed the scar on his leg to prove it. His old man worked for the Air Ministry and he was on his way to Aden (?) for school holidays.

Ive promised to dig out all the details, crew names, aircraft reg, and photos of actual aircraft etc. Trouble is, I cant find anything. The accident was in 1956, of this he is sure, but the only Hastings accident/incident in 56 was WD483, gear collapsed, Aden.

And the only accident at Khartoum was in 1959, TG522, engine failure(s) after take-off, crashed returning. 5 Dead (all crew) all pax survived, 25. (As he was thirteen at the time I'm developing a suspicion that he may have been aboard this aircraft, with the details withheld from him.)

Im pretty sure that any wheels up at Khartoum would have produced a write off but no mention anywhere. Any ideas?
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 20:08
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The WD483 accident happened "up country" at Attaq, there was no chance of a schoolboy being on board!
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 20:18
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Found another interesting Hastings snippet from July 1956. See below



Never heard of this before. Must have been very draughty with an open door at 9,500ft - and a few red faces among the crew.

Given that Gen Templer survived an EOKA bomb under his bed in Cyprus (I think) a missing exit door on an aeroplane would be very small beer indeed!

Later Edit.
It was Field Marshal Harding who as Governor of Cyprus had the EOKA bomb placed under his bed not Gen. Templar. Thankfully the bomb didn't go off.

Last edited by Warmtoast; 28th Jan 2011 at 10:52. Reason: Add correction
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 20:25
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The WD483 accident happened "up country" at Attaq, there was no chance of a schoolboy being on board!
I agree .. I said ... "but the only Hastings accident/incident in 56"..... so no chance of him being aboard 483. Question is - what was he aboard?
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 20:32
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WD483

There is a first hand report here on WD483 at Ataq Hastings Bangs and Prangs and Splashes and Crashes
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 10:58
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Interesting reference to main gear collapse. At the time of the UN Congo intervention in July 196o I was working for Shell in Accra, Ghana, where the troop airlift was centred, helping out on refuelling from my normal job as a sales rep.

The RAF sent a Comet 2 and a Hastings. When the Hastings arrived and I went on board to take their fuel requirements I enquired why their only cargo was a complete spare main landing gear (with wheel). I was told 'they tend to collapse so we brought a spare'. Unfortunately they had failed to bring a toolkit so to open the engine oil dip hatches they had to borrow a screwdriver from my car toolkit.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 12:32
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I cannot see any memtion of yet another variation of the venerable hastings,the Hastings Met.Mk1 as flown by 202 Sqn. out of Aldergrove daily in 1950, to mid atlantic.Flown at 1000ft,every 100nm. down to 50ft. When at umpteen West,box climb to altitude and return. Various Met instruments were grouped at co-pilots position,frost point hydrometers,other barometric thingies.A report compiled by the Met Observor every 30 mins. the W/Op sent this weather report to Dunstable. This mark of Hastings took over from the Halifax. How do I know? I spent six miserable months there,instead of my posting to 24 Sqn. route flying, before I managed to escape.but thats another story
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 12:40
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I remember at ATC Overseas Flight in May 1958: Hastings Met 1 TG566 Lyneham-Gibraltar and back. Six hours each way. Noisy and cold as I recall.

Laurence
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 14:12
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As a newly-minted sprog in 1964, one of my first liney tasks was to re-charge the crew and pax oxygen systems in a couple of Hastings visiting Lyneham.

IIRC, the pax oxygen points were under the floor in the main cabin. Trying to access them, I found traces of very black gunge around the fuselage stringers. Reporting this to Chiefy, he informed me that it was the remains of the coal cargoes, transported on the Berlin Airlift.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 16:44
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Before we become too overcome with nostalgia about the Hastings we must remember just how difficult it was to fly.

Designed in around 1944 by the people who built the Halifax it had many similar components including the landing gear. No one seemed to think of fitting power controls (and yes, they were in use...at least one Lancaster had them fitted as a trial).

The main problem was its incredible stability and reluctance to change attitude being it in pitch, roll or yaw. This was ideal in the cruise but a little challenging the closer one got to attempting a landing. This was one of the main reasons for the engineer to control the power on the approach as the poor pilot needed both hands on the yoke especially when it came to the flair.Even with the yoke back against the stops the nose would still be reluctant to raise itself without copious nose up trim, especially if the engineer gave a faster than expected reaction to the order to "Slow cut!".
The resulting bounce was as entertaining to the watching vultures in the crew room as it was to the crew who felt no more than passengers as the sky darkened with the extreme altitude and then the final fall back to earth.
Handley Page did make slight amends with the Mk2 version which had a spring balance tab on the elevator to make life a little easier.

On take off there was a gap from when the power started to be applied and the tail wheel lifted off (fitted with a lock to help keep the aircraft straight) and the rudder came out of the shade of the fuselage to contribute to directional control. Using differential power by careful twisting the wrist to open up throttles assymetrically usually overcame this gap of between 10 and 60 or so knots on the ASI.

There was,of course, another gap in speed between when it became airborne and it achieved a speed at which an engine could fail and you would still survive. This was so common in those days that nobody worried to much about this lack of performance "A" that we take so much for granted these days.

In the cruise it was as stable as the proverbial outside toilet, but with an outboard shut down a turn needed full aileron and a boot full of rudder in the same direction.

One good thing about Sir Frederick's machine was that it certainly made all the other aircraft I flew seem easy...but perhaps not so much fun!
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 18:49
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After completing a rudimentary second pilot's course at 242 OCU Dishforth in 1957 I was "invited" to stay on for a few months to act as a staff second pilot to trainee captains. As three point landings were standard at that time I soon learned to keep my eyes shut after we collided with the runway and began bouncing across north Yorkshire. I understand wheeler landings were preferred in the latter years of the Hastings service life.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 20:05
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Please can anyone tell me about the "Operation Heliotrope" flights by 230 OCU
Hastings, unofficially 1066 Squadron, during the 1976 Cod War versus Iceland ?
I understand up to twenty sorties were flown dropping supplies to RN ships at
sea defending/protecting British trawlers in disputed waters off the Icelandic
coast.
Which aircraft were involved, from where were the missions flown, has anyone
ever written a book about these ops.
Thanks in anticipation,
Be lucky
David
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 20:42
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I remember the Ataq Hastings crash mainly for the (possibly apocryphal) Co-pilot's escape from the crash. The aircraft was on fire and he, apparently. left via the DV window - a feat subsequently considered a physical impossibility.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 22:13
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Co-pilots DV window

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