1911 Fight

(HP Logo and Sir Frederick Handley Page photo – courtesy Handley Page Fair use)

In 1909 Handley Page company was founded by Frederick Handley Page (1885 – 1962) pictured above. It was England’s first aircraft manufacturing company and went into liquidation in 1970. Handley Page Limited, a Barking based company, used Fairlop as a flying ground from July 1911 until the company moved to Cricklewood a year later.


Handley Page monoplane Type E HP5  also known as E/50 nicknamed ‘Yellow Peril’
(David Martin)

 The Type E HP5 had its first test flight from Fairlop Plain on 26 April 1911 by Henry Petre and was unfortunately damaged upon landing.
On the 27 July 1912 Henry Petre flew the 55 miles from Fairlop to Brooklands along the Thames, the first such flight across London. The aircraft remained at Brooklands while the factory was moved from Barking to Cricklewood, and then moved to Hendon. Modifications were made, and a further flight took place in February 1913 by Sydney Pickles, the machine then going on to be exhibited at Olympia.
The Type E had a crescent wing, braced to fuselage-mounted pylons and kingposts (*) towards the tips, which were flexible for warping, although ailerons were fitted later. The fabric covered fuselage was a shallow, braced girder, tapering to a vertical post at the rear, with a deep fairing below and decking above, built up with formers and stringers . The tail unit consisted of a long tapered tailplane with semicircular elevators, a fin of low, parallel shape and a tall curved rudder. The central skid, split axle undercarriage embodied spring loaded struts with rubber cord shock absorbers; the tail was supported by a tall springy skid below the rudder post.

(*) In aircraft design a strut called a king post acts in compression, similarly to an architectural crown post. A king post extends vertically from a crossbeam to the apex of a triangular truss . It connects the apex of the truss with its base, holding up the tie-beam (in tension) at the base of the truss.

 The pilot flew the aircraft from the front cockpit, protected by a cowl covering the upper half of the engine. The aircraft was well constructed and smartly finished, with a dark fuselage and yellow wings and tail, nicknamed the ‘Yellow Peril’.
During repairs in early 1913, the fin was changed to one of triangular shape. In 1914, it was converted to a single-seater, with twin skid, cross axle undercarriage. The machine was requisitioned by the War Office, who retained the engine, before returning the airframe to Handley Page, where it remained until disposed of in 1940.

Power          50hp Gnome seven-cylinder air-cooled rotary with an 8ft HP propeller
Span            42ft 6in (12.95M)
Length 27ft (8.2M)
Weight all up     1,3001b
Speed                  60 mph
Price                    Believed to be £850

On 12 June 2011, David Martin of Fairlop Heritage Group organised a centenary flypast (*) by a Spitfire AB910 Mk Vb flown by F/Lt Antony Parkinson MBE of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

* see 2011 Spitfire display under the History menu.

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