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Hastings TG582, Christmas Island August 1956
Role Transport aircraft
Manufacturer Handley Page
First flight 7 May 1946
Introduced September 1948
Retired 1977 (RAF)
Primary users RAF
Number built 151
Variants Handley Page Hermes

The Handley Page H.P.67 Hastings was a British troop-carrier and freight transport aircraft designed and built by Handley Page Aircraft Company for the Royal Air Force. At the time, it was the largest transport plane ever designed for the RAF, and it replaced the Avro York as the standard long-range transport.


Design and development

Handley Page's answer to meet Air Staff Specification C.3/44 for a long-range general purpose transport was the H.P.67.[1] It was an all-metal low-wing cantilever monoplane with conventional tail unit. It had all-metal tapering dihedral wings, which had been designed for the abandoned HP.66 bomber development of the Handley Page Halifax and a circular fuselage suitable for pressurisation up to 5.5 psi (38 kPa). It had a retractable undercarriage and tailwheel. The Hastings was powered by four wing-mounted Bristol Hercules 101 sleeve valve radial engines. In service the aircraft was operated by a crew of five and could accommodate either 30 paratroopers, 32 stretchers and 28 sitting casualties, or 50 fully equipped troops.

One of the two Hastings prototypes

A civilian version of the Hastings was developed as the Handley Page Hermes. The Hermes prototypes were given priority over the Hastings but the program was put on hold after the prototype crashed on its first flight on 2 December 1945 and the company concentrated on the military Hastings variant.[2] The first of two Hastings prototype (TE580) flew at RAF Wittering on 7 May 1946.[3] Tests showed that the aircraft was laterally unstable and that it had poor stall warning capabilities. The prototypes and first few production aircraft were subject to a series of urgent modifactions and testing to resolve these problems. A temporary solution was found by modifying the tailplane with 15° of dihedral, while being fitted with synthetic stall warning.[4] This allowed the first production aircraft (Hastings C1) to enter service in October 1948.

The RAF initial ordered 100 Hastings C1s but the last six were built as weather reconnaissance versions as the Hastings Met. Mk 1. Eight C1 aircraft were later converted to Hastings T5 trainers which were used for training the V-bomber crews; three at a time.

While tail modifications introduced to the C1 allowed it to enter service, a more definitive solution was the fitting of an extended-span tailplane, which was mounted lower on the fuselage. These changes, together with the fitting of additional fuel tanks in the outer wing, resulted in the C Mk 2,[5] while a further modified VIP transport, fitted with yet more fuel to give a longer range become the C Mk 4.[6]

A total of 147 aircraft were built for the Royal Air Force and four for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, a total of 151.

Operational history

The Hasting was rushed into service because of the Berlin Airlift, with No. 47 Squadron replacing its Halifax A Mk 9s with Hastings in September-October 1948, flying its first sortie to Berlin on 11 November 1948. The Hasting was mainly used to carry coal, with two further squadrons, 297 and 53 joining the airlift before its end.[7] A Hastings made the last sortie of the airlift on 6 October 1949,[8] the 32 Hastings deployed delivering 55,000 tons (49,900 tonnes) of supplies for the loss of two aircraft.[7]

One hundred Hastings C.Mk 1 and 41 Hastings C.Mk 2 were built, and they served both on Transport Command's long-range routes and as a tactical transport until well after the arrival of the Bristol Britannia in 1959. An example of the latter use was during the Suez Crisis when Hastings of 70, 99 and 511 Squadrons dropped paratroopers on El Gamil airfield.[9]

Hastings continued to provide transport support to British military operations around the globe through the 1950s and 60's, including dropping supplies to troops opposing Indonesian forces in Malaysia during the Indonesian Confrontation.[10]

The Hastings was retired from Royal Air Force Transport Command in early 1968 when it was replaced by the Lockheed Hercules.[11] The Met Mk.1 weather reconnaissance aircraft were used by No. 202 Squadron RAF at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland from 1950 until the Squadron was disbanded on 31 July 1964, being made obsolete by weather satellites.[12] The Hastings T.Mk 5 remained in service as radar trainers well into the 1970s, even being used for reconnaissance purposes during the Cod War in the winter of 1975—76, finally being retired on 30 June 1977.[13]

Hastings were also operated in New Zealand, where the Royal New Zealand Air Force's 40 Squadron flew the type until replaced by C130 Hercules in 1965. Four Hastings C.Mk 3 transport aircraft were built and supplied to the RNZAF. One crashed at RAAF Base Darwin and caused considerable damage to a water main, a railway and the road into the city. The other three were broken up at RNZAF Base Ohakea. During the period that the engines were having problems with their sleeve valves (lubricating oil difficulties) RNZAF personnel joked that the Hastings was the best three-engined aircraft in the world.


Hastings C2 WD488
HP Hastings T5 TG517 at the Newark Air Museum
HP.67 Hastings
Prototype, two built.
HP.67 Hastings C1
Production aircraft with four Bristol Hercules 101 engines, 94 built all later converted to C1A and T5.
HP. 67 Hastings C1A
C1 rebuilt to C2 standard
HP.67 Hastings Met.1
Weather reconnaissance version for Coastal Command, six built.
HP.67 Hastings C2
Improved version with larger-area tailplane mounted lower on fuselage, increased fuel capacity and powered by Bristol Hercules 106 engines, 43 built and C1s were modified to the this standard as C1As.
HP.95 Hastings C3
Transport aircraft for the RNZAF, similar to C2 but had Bristol Hercules 737 engines, 4 built.
HP.94 Hastings C4
VIP transport version for four VIPs and staff, four built.
HP.67 Hastings T5
Eight C1s converted for RAF Bomber Command with ventral radome to train V bomber crews on the Navigation Bombing System


A No. 40 Squadron RNZAF Hastings refuelling
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom


Hastings TG503

Four Hastings are preserved in the UK and Germany:

  • TG503 (T5) on display at the Alliiertenmuseum (Allied Museum), Berlin, Germany.
  • TG511 (T5) on display at the RAF Museum Cosford, England.
  • TG517 (T5) on display at the Newark Air Museum, Newark, England.
  • TG528 (C1A) on display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England.

The nose of a Hastings is preserved at Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology.

Accidents and incidents

  • 16 July 1949 Hastings TG611 lost control during takeoff at Berlin-Tegel Airport and dived into the ground due to incorrect tail trim, all five crew died.[14]
  • 26 September 1949 Hastings TG499 lost the belly pannier which hit the tail causing the aircraft to crash, all three crew died.[15]
  • 20 December 1950 Hastings TG574 lost a propeller in flight which hit the fuselage killing the co-pilot, the aircraft diverted to Benina, Libya and the aircraft flipped on to its back, total of five out of the seven crew killed but the 27 passengers (all "slip" crews returning) survived.[16]
  • 19 March 1951 Hastings WD478 stalled on takeoff at RAF Strubby, 3 crew died.[17]
  • 16 September 1952 Hastings WD492 had a Whiteout and crashed at Northice, Greenland. All the crew rescued by USAF Rescue at Thule,
  • 12 January 1953 Hastings C1 TG602 crashed after takeoff when both elevator and the tailplane broke away, all 5 crew and 4 passengers died.[18]
  • 22 June 1953 Hasting WJ335 stalled and crashed on takeoff at RAF Abingdon, the elevator control locks had been left engaged, all six crew died.[19]
  • 2 March 1955 Hasting WD484 stalled and crashed on takeoff at RAF Boscombe Down due to the elevator controls being locked, all 4 crew died.[20]
  • 13 September 1955 Hastings TG584 lost control attempting to overshoot at RAF Dishforth and crashed, 5 died.
  • 29 May 1959 Hastings TG522 stalled and crashed on approach to Khartoum Airport, Sudan, after engine failure, all 5 crew died, 25 passengers survived.[21]
  • 29 May 1961 Hastings WD497 stalled and crashed in Singapore after an engine lost power, 13 died.[22]
  • 10 October 1961 Hastings WD498 stalled and crashed on takeoff from RAF El Adem, Libya after the pilot's seat slid back, 17 of the 37 occupants died.[23]
  • 6 July 1965 Hastings C1A TG577, departing from RAF Abingdon on a Parachute Drop, crashed at Little Baldon, Oxfordshire, with the loss of 41 lives. The cause was metal fatigue of two of the elevator bolts.[24]

Specifications (Hastings C.1)

Hastings C.1

Data from

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5-6
  • Capacity: 50 troops
  • Length: 81 ft 3 in (24.8 m)
  • Wingspan: 113 ft 0 in (34.5 m)
  • Height: 22 ft 6 in (6.9 m)
  • Wing area: 1,408 ft2 (130.8 m2)
  • Empty weight: 41,689 lb (18,910 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 75,000 lb (34,010 kg)
  • Powerplant:Bristol Hercules 101 radial piston engine, 1,675 hp (1,250 kW) each


See also

Related development

Related lists




  1. ^ Barnes 1976, p.435.
  2. ^ Barnes 1976, p.437.
  3. ^ Barnes 1976, p.440.
  4. ^ Jackson 1989, p3.
  5. ^ Jackson 1989, pp. 5—6.
  6. ^ Jackson 1989, p.7.
  7. ^ a b Jackson 1989, pp.4—5.
  8. ^ Thetford 1957, p.262.
  9. ^ Jackson 1989, p.49.
  10. ^ Jackson 1989, pp. 50—51.
  11. ^ Jackson 1989, p.51
  12. ^ Jackson 1989, pp. 49—50.
  13. ^ Jackson 1989, p.52.
  14. ^ TG611
  15. ^ TG499
  16. ^ TG574
  17. ^ WD478
  18. ^ TG602
  19. ^ WJ335
  20. ^ WD484
  21. ^ TG522
  22. ^ WD497
  23. ^ WD498
  24. ^


  • Barnes, C. H. Handley Page Aircraft Since 1907. London: Putnam, 1976. ISBN 0 370 00030 7.
  • Barnes, C. H. Handley Page Aircraft Since 1907. London: Putnam & Company, Ltd., 1987.
  • Clayton, Donald C. Handley Page, an Aircraft Album. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd., 1969. ISBN 0-7110-0094-8.
  • Jackson, Paul. "The Hastings...Last of a Transport Line". Air Enthusiast. Issue Forty, September-December 1989. Bromley, Kent:Tri-Service Press. pp. 1–7,47—52.
  • Hall, Alan W. Handley Page Hastings (Warpaint Series no.62). Bletchley, UK: Warpaint Books, 2007.
  • Senior, Tim. Hastings, Including a Brief History of the Hermes - Handley Page's Post-War Transport Aircraft. Stamford, Lincs: Dalrymple & Verdun, 2008.
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57. London: Putnam, First edition 1957.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.  

External links


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