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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.

PPRuNe Pop 24th Jan 2011 07:27


Please adjust picture size to no more than 850x850. This is the limit we accept. It widens the pager too far.

brakedwell 24th Jan 2011 15:28

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

What was normal cruise airspeed and how long was a routine sortie?
I have unearthed my Hastings Pilots Notes and confirmed my memory ain't what it used to be! Here are a few figures that may interest you.
Approach speeds: Pattern - 145kts. Finals - 135Kts. Glideslope = Threshold speed + 20kts. Threshold speed 100 to 105kts at 74000lb (max land wt). 110kts max overweight landing.

If max range not required cruise at 173kts. 3145 Gals usuable fuel. 10000 ft cruise 225 gph.

ian16th 24th Jan 2011 17:31

1st flight in a Haystack. Summer of 1952 an 'Air Experience' flight to, from and around Lynham for Boy Entrants from Yatesbury.

A disappointment as previous flights had been in Anson's, much more 'interesting' ;)

July 58, scrounged a lift from Orange to Benson on a Hastings that was passing through on a Friday. It saved me doing the journey courtesy of SNCF.

Last Hastings flight(s). 1960. Marham-Luqa-El Adem-Khartoum-Khormaksar-Mauripur and 3 weeks later the return trip.
This trip included night-stops at El Adem and Khormaksar in each direction.
The overriding memory was that seeing as we all contracted dysentery while in Karachi, we discovered the shortcomings of the Hastings only being equipped with Elsan toilets. This was a particular problem on the leg from Khormaksar to Khartoum, being bounced all over the sky while crossing the mountains of Ethiopia at about 9,000 feet. Elson's are not spill proof. :yuk:

Why did we have to suffer so? We were a detachment of 214 Sqdn. We based 3 Valiant's at Mauripur to re-fuel the a/c that completed the 1st non-stop flight from UK to Singapore and the return flight.

We used Mauripur several times after that, but Air Ministry coughed up for a better hotel, the original exercise having nearly been scrubbed due to the numbers of air and ground crew being unfit for duty!
On the 1st trip commissioned types were billeted in the PAF OM, they got sick before those of us in the hotel down town. Future trips all ranks stayed in the same hotel.
Transport Command were also persuaded to supply 'Whimpering Giant' Britannia's. The luxury of hot drinks and FLUSH toilets. :ok:

The Lindholme Hastings? Well we had Lincolns when I was there :) Though I did help install the original NBS 'Trainer' in the Bombing School.

wileydog3 24th Jan 2011 19:05

If max range not required cruise at 173kts. 3145 Gals usuable fuel. 10000 ft cruise 225 gph.
6500HP pulling 74,000lbs.. what was MAX cruise?

GAZIN 24th Jan 2011 19:36

I am always interested to read about the Hastings & Hermes so thank you Proplinerman for this thread.
The Hastings is a bit before my time, though I probably saw one at an air show in the 60's. My father worked on them during his national service, here are some scans from his album. The album is marked 'changi 1954'.
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.







The last Hastings deliverd WJ343

JAVELINBOY 24th Jan 2011 21:49

Proplinerman and Liobian

RRE Pershore had two HastingsWD482 built 30/03/51 ended up derelict at Pershore Aug 1975
Had an AEF Flight in it from Pershore on 4/1/68 as an ATC Cadet, we used to cadge flights during school holidays.

The second Hastings was WD499, flew in that one as well on 9/4/69, it ended its days on the fire dump at Honington.

I recall the interior was fitted out with Dexion Shelving with loads of electronic gear mounted on it which was attended to by the civillian research staff who flew with it.
No idea what it was or what it did, spent most of the time on the flight deck.

Ever grateful to Flt Lt Lofty Carter who was the ACLO and did his best to get us a flight when we turned up at the gate. Happy hours also spent in the Tower there when no flying and many a visit to the Flight Safety Centre being shown all the kit and how it worked.

avionic type 25th Jan 2011 00:12

Having had the misfortune of having to fly from the UK to Gibraltar in a Hastings twice in the early 50s, the word charismatic does not spring to mind, lets face it it was very noisey and those rearfacing seats were the most uncomfortable things to sit on for 8 to 10 hours, sheer misery, we used to hate them , we much preferred to fly in our Shacklton Mk1s at least there were 2 bunks to sleep on or plenty of floorspace to sleep just forward of the rear door,an engine cover to lie on, a wad of cotton wool in each ear , bliss.:zzz::zzz::zzz:

Lancman 25th Jan 2011 07:37

One of the best things about flying the Hastings, on which I was a Flight Engineer from 1958 -60, was the variety of tasks; despatching paratroops in the early morning at Weston-on-the Green, very low level free-dropping under-slung Jeeps at Watchfield, or long range transport to Australia or Christmas Island. And as all my previous flying had been on Lancasters and Shackletons I didn't find them particularly noisy. To cruise half way round the world at 8,000 feet was to learn just how much of the Earth is yellow and brown, how soggy Eastern Canada is, and just how boring the American Midwest is. Throw in some formation flying and who could ask for anything more?

In answer to previous queries; yes those are photos of the interior of one of the VIP Mk 4 Hastings, note the width of the seat in the third picture!

I think that I can explain the engine cough experienced by Tankertrashnav. In the middle of the FE's panel were 7 levers, 4 group cocks that selected various fuel tanks on or off, and 3 cross-feed cocks so that you could feed any engine from any tank group. No schematic panel or magnetic indicators, just 7 levers sticking out of the panel. As the newest sprog on 24(C) Squadron I seemed to get all the early morning continuation training flights and quickly became quite slick at an after start check procedure that required manipulation of these levers to prove that every engine could be fed from any group, ending up with all group cocks open and all crossfeeds closed. One morning I ended up with all group cocks closed and all crossfeeds open! I managed to catch 2 engines as they ran down by using the ki-gas pump which was fixed to the floor and the 3 selector valves which were mounted next to the roof but was my face red! I learned about rushing from that.

I'm not saying that this is what definitely happened to Ttn but it's a possibility.

John (Gary) Cooper 25th Jan 2011 08:08

I have hundreds of photos of Hastings, some of my own and others donated, a few of them are shown on here

Handley Page Hastings pictures from aviation photos on webshots

tornadoken 25th Jan 2011 09:16

ozl #14: Propping up British Industry again? Yes, but this time, I suggest, a good thing.

Between 11/44 and 3/46 RAF enjoyed 11 C-54B/D under Lend/Lease, which terminated at VJ Day. To retain them and to buy in-Service Support required $ which UK did not have, so off they went to USAAF/USMC/USN. RAF Transport Command tried to operate ludicrous Lancastrians, awaiting 100 Hastings C.1, funded 10/45, operational from 10/48.

On 28/7/47 HP and Avro were joint winners of the Medium Bomber Tender (funding released 19/11/47). Sir Fred.H.P pressed MoS for hands-on work “to keep the factor(ies) going” till Victor B.1 production: thus the WD/WJXXX batch of 41 Hastings C.2.

WHBM 25th Jan 2011 09:17

Originally Posted by Liobian (Post 6197449)
.....blagged a flight over the Severn estuary. Recall it was v noisy and quite an uphill walk in the cabin.

I presume you are meaning in flight here rather than on the ground. Did the Hastings suffer from the same issue as its stablemate the Hermes, of flying excessively tail-down ? How did Handley-Page manage to get the C of G so wrong on this group of types ?

Lancman 25th Jan 2011 09:17

Thanks for those John, I spotted some old friends. The fuel levers that I mentioned can be seen clearly in photos 70 and 78, the 14 gauges in the centre of the pictures were the fuel tank contents. The window through which the FE could see the starboard main wheel was further round to the left. The eagle-eyed may have noticed in some shots the angle that the double-slotted single-slatted Handley Page flaps came down to.

As I remember it the Hastings flew nice and level, but it was quite a climb to the cockpit when on the ground.

brakedwell 25th Jan 2011 09:35

If max range not required cruise at 173kts. 3145 Gals usuable fuel. 10000 ft cruise 225 gph.
6500HP pulling 74,000lbs.. what was MAX cruise?
I have extrapolated a few figures from the Pilots Notes performance graphs using mid weight 70,000lb figures.

Max cruise 235kts TAS @ 270 gals per hour.

Max Range speed. 179kts TAS = 1.04 ANM/ Imp Gallon.

Lancman this might clarify your explaination



goudie 25th Jan 2011 11:00

When going on detachment with 32 Sqdn. from Akrotiri we always
flew in a 70 Sqdn Hastings. The first time I flew in one I was
amazed at how noisy the engines were. Sounded as if all the big ends had gone!
Whenever we flew to Shajah, via Teheran, we had to wear those awful
oxygen masks with the airbag attached. The in-flight catering consisted of a
cardboard box containing a stale roll with some salad and an urn of tea
down the back.
Having seen off our 4 Canberra's, after a small detachment to Tripoli,
we were given a lift back to Akrotiri in the NEAF C in C's Hastings, who had been on a visit to Tripoli.
Can't remember his name but he spent most of the trip chatting to us.

The cabin service was rather better than what we were used to!

brakedwell 25th Jan 2011 11:32

Whenever we flew to Shajah, via Teheran, we had to wear those awful
oxygen masks with the airbag attached.
On a clear day we flew the Northern Turkey/Iran route below oxygen height.

Northern Turkey from 10000 feet.

Mount Ararat

NW Iran

Tankertrashnav 25th Jan 2011 11:36

Lancman and brakedwell. Thanks for the explanation and clarification of the 70,000 lb glider incident. Wonder what a present day pilot flying a fully computerised airliner would make of that array of knobs and tits! Not surprised the odd cock-up occurred. Anyway, it woke us all up, and no harm done!

wileydog3 - the Hastings lasted much longer than the Beverley, which retired from service in 1968 IIRC. I did once see one airborne from a train window a year or two later, but assumed that was the one kept by Boscombe for some reason

Super pics, Brakedwell. Used to like watching Turkey coming up meet us as we flew over with chicks in company. That was up around FL 290/310 though, and the tops still looked pretty close. There are bits of Turkey you wouldn't want to attempt at 10,000', though :eek:

Union Jack 25th Jan 2011 11:47

'Ark at Him ....
Mount Arafat:=

Brakedwell - Great photographs and great yarns but I smell "Ararat":D


brakedwell 25th Jan 2011 12:09

err - senior moment/freudian slip from the hijack days :eek:

Union Jack 25th Jan 2011 12:37

err - senior moment/freudian slip from the hijack days



VX275 25th Jan 2011 14:47

" very low level free-dropping under-slung Jeeps at Watchfield,"

I thought I'd traced every airdrop method tried in this country but this is a new one on me. - I'd love to see the details.
I must admit I thought the last Jeeps dropped by a Hastings were the ones during the Suez Operation when the AATDC's museum had to be raided for the crash pans; the UK by that time having gone over to the Medium Stressed Platform (MSP) for all its heavy drop. The MSP wasn't used at Suez because at that time it was only being dropped from USAF C-119 prior to the Beverley being cleared for heavy drop.

Does anyone have any photos of the Hastings with the Paratechnicon?

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