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-   -   Handley Page Hastings (https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/440472-handley-page-hastings.html)

Proplinerman 23rd Jan 2011 07:39

Handley Page Hastings
I'm too young to remember this charismatic transport aircraft in service, tho I've seen four of them. I'm sure there are many members here who flew on them, so please can I hear your reminiscences and to stimulate those, here are photos of three of the Hastings I've seen. I saw the fourth at Gaydon or Pershore (can't remember which) in 1975/6, but criminally, I did not have my camera with me and I was saddened to hear, a few years ago, that this aircraft was subsequently scrapped. Photo of it anyone?

Now here are my photos (and for anyone looking at this post in its first five minutes, please be patient, it takes about a minute for me to create and post the link to each photo).

Firstly, the aircraft at Cosford, quite a few years ago:

ScanImage8 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The one at Newark:

DSC_0009 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The Duxford aircraft as it used to look:

ScanImage1 1024 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

And the Duxford aircraft again, but now as it appears currently:

DSC0015e | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

renfrew 23rd Jan 2011 09:25

While at ATC camp at Andover in 1958 we were promised a ride in a Comet.
Unfortunately the RAF driver got lost and arrived at Lyneham as the Comet took off.
As a consolation we had 2 hours doing touch and goes on Hastings TG551.
I also remember there was a RNZAF Hastings parked on the line.

brakedwell 23rd Jan 2011 09:31

I spent two years in the right hand seat. Not a very happy time after my Hunter course was cancelled due to Duncan Sandys axe in 1957.
Anyway, here are three "working" Hastings photos taken in April 1958.

Over Northern Kenya

RAF Khormaksar, Aden

RAF Nicosia, Cyprus

Proplinerman 23rd Jan 2011 09:49

Great photos, thanks for posting.

Capot 23rd Jan 2011 10:19

I write as a Hastings passenger, not crew...

All-arms parachute course, January 1963 or thereabouts, might have been earlier...

First night jump, I think at Weston-on-the-Green...

Also first introduction to a Hastings. Once the disbelief had been got over, off we went to the DZ. I was No 1 in the stick and had the stand in the door for an interminable period.

What terrified me out of my wits wasn't my imminent death due to parachute failure; we were becoming accustomed to that fear.

It was the solid stream of hot sparks, about 2ft wide, from the port inner engine, into which I would have to leap with my nylon umbrella, and the tailplane slicing through the air below and to the left of me, illuminated like a vision from hell by the sparks and the light from the open door, that would cut me in half as I fell.

But the fear of the PTI just behind me was far, far greater, so I jumped anyway. And nothing went wrong. But I never rode in a Hastings again, and I'm not sorry.

Liobian 23rd Jan 2011 12:20

Proplinerman... the Pershore a/c was (I believe) WD499. I spent a few months there and blagged a flight over the Severn estuary. Recall it was v noisy and quite an uphill walk in the cabin. Wish I'd taken pix !!

Tankertrashnav 23rd Jan 2011 16:17

Like 100's of V Force nav radars I did my NBS course on Hastings T5s at Lindholme (there's one at Newark, link to pic in Post #1). After advanced nav on the (recently retired) Dominie it was a step back in time, hardly luxurious surroundings!

One incident sticks in my memory. Cruising at height one day all 4 engines cut out, coughed, stopped again then finally picked up and carried on as normal. In those few seconds we were out of our seats and making for the parachute stowage before things returned to normal. There was a quiet "sorry chaps" from the flight engineer, but as mere studes we were never let into the secret as to what cockup he had made to suddenly turn us into a glider. Perhaps someone has a theory?

Warmtoast 23rd Jan 2011 16:26

Abingdon 1959


Hastings returns after a drop at Weston-on-the-Green.

Parachute door left open as Weston is about 10-miles up the road from Abingdon and just north of Oxford.

Grys Dweizelschidt 23rd Jan 2011 17:55

First ATC annual camp, 1974, and some of us were offered an opportunity for a flight on a T5, until TPTB decided we weren't grown-up enough to be allowed to see the nav kit that Tankertrashnav alluded to earlier.

WE992 23rd Jan 2011 18:12

I was lucky enough to fly in TG505. I've always thought the Hastings was a great aircraft. The photos on this thread are amazing!

wileydog3 23rd Jan 2011 18:34

Some are with prop hubs and some not. Any real difference?

Also, what was approach speed and how did this beast handle on landing?

Another machine with the Hercules engines. How long did they last and how often were they changed?

What was normal cruise airspeed and how long was a routine sortie?

Sites say the last retirement came in 1977? Before or after the Beverly?

brakedwell 23rd Jan 2011 19:06

1. Sometimes all the props were fitted with spenners, sometimes two or three or none at all. I think it depended on their condition and availability.

2. Around ninety knots and it was a handful with heavy controls. Three point landings were preferred in the early years. The captain called the power settings and the F/E, facing backwards in the rear righthand side of a very long flight deck looked out of his window at the starboard wheel, cutting the power when he judged the time was right! If it resulted in a bad landing he blamed the pilots or claimed the credit for a greaser!

3. The sleeve valve Hercules were very reliable.

4. 200 knots. Depended on the route, but six hours was a good average.

It was a long time ago, so my memories have faded.

longer ron 23rd Jan 2011 20:35

The last time I saw a Hastings was when one rumbled out of the snow into Marham just before christmas 1976ish ? doing a 'round robin' i believe

ozleckie 23rd Jan 2011 20:58

I had many flights in them during the V Force dispersal exercises. Noisy old beasts and from memory you couldn't smoke as the fuel transfer gear was in the cabin floor.

While on 205 Sqn at Changi I flew to Sangley Point near Manilla in a FEAF VIP Hastings which had been modified so that you could have a fag. I remember sitting at the back reading Neville Shute's 'No Highway' and trying not to think of the one that crashed near Abingdon and killed all those Paras. That's why I needed a smoke

Last year I helped return a DC4 to the skies and whilst doing so wondered why the RAF had not purchased some of the many that must have been surplus at the end of the war. On the surface it looked to be a better aircraft than the Hastings. Propping up British Industry again.?

mustbeaboeing 23rd Jan 2011 22:03

With regard to when they were retired.

I can remember a Hastings visiting Luton (EGGW/LTN) in either 1977 or 1978 on a possible farewell visit to local, Hitchen ATC Corps. Squadron.

Taking Off on grass runway 18/36.

norwich 23rd Jan 2011 22:24

My recent view of TG517 at Newark Museum .... Keith.


wileydog3 23rd Jan 2011 22:32

2. Around ninety knots and it was a handful with heavy controls. Three point landings were preferred in the early years. The captain called the power settings and the F/E, facing backwards in the rear righthand side of a very long flight deck looked out of his window at the starboard wheel, cutting the power when he judged the time was right! If it resulted in a bad landing he blamed the pilots or claimed the credit for a greaser!
The FE on the B-29 also faced the back. ???

And from what I read of the Russians and the IL-86 early on, the FE also was sort of a human autothrottle. The pilot flew. The FE controlled power. And as you noted some times they were out of synch resulting in some very wild rides.

Robert Cooper 24th Jan 2011 02:40

The last flight I had in a Hastings was from Hickam AFB to Christmas Island in 1957. About 1000 miles south over water.

While we were waiting in the MATS departure for the aircraft to arrive at the gate, Bob Hope and Jane Mansfield were also there waiting for a flight to Guam on a USO tour. When Bob Hope saw the Hastings clatter up to the gate, he bought us all a beer on the grounds that we would probably never been seen alive again!

In those days MATS was flying C-124 Globemasters and Super Constellations etc., so I guess the old Hastings seemed a bit primitive. Bob Hope also tried to buy my KD slacks for golfing, but that's another story!

Bob C

dixi188 24th Jan 2011 06:42

The "Voice Activated Autothrottle" was fitted to many of the older large aircraft, long before anyone invented computers to do the job.

AKA Flight Engineer.

Barksdale Boy 24th Jan 2011 06:46

As did Tankertrashnav, I flew on the Hastings during the Air Training phase of the NBS course at Lindholme, but in 1967. I thoroughly enjoyed that part of the course due in no small measure to Bill Sherlock's excellence as an instructor. He always said that the secret to being a good nav radar was knowing where to put your markers, as opposed to what I later came to recognise as the John Willey approach - know every box inside out. Tedious.

My enduring Hastings memory, however, is of an event in 1972. Waddo's legendary CO, Des Hall, had arranged for a Hastings to be available for a long week end to take that year's Giant Voice crews and staff to Wildenrath to make up for the competition in the United States being cancelled.

As our gallant band approached the aircraft on F Dispersal a magnificent figure appeared in the doorway. About 5' 2" tall and of very senior non-commissioned rank, he was wearing an ill-fitting flying suit, and untamed tufts of silver hair sprouted from beneath a service hat that might once have looked respectable but was now soaked with many years' worth of hydraulic fluid, oil and sweat. His ruddy complexion spoke of countless evenings spent dining at the table of Bacchus. He fixed us with a disdainful stare before bellowing into the innards of the aircraft, "Skipper, the f$%#ing pax are 'ere". I always think of him when I hear people today complaining abiut the standard of airline cabin crew.

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