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Handley Page Hastings

Four-Engined Transport Aircraft [ 1948 ]

Just over 150 Hastings transport aircraft were produced by the Handley Page concern following World War 2 - some took part in the famous Berlin Airlift operation.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/06/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

In the post-World War 2 period (1946-onward), the British military required a new, all-modern long-range transport. Handley Page Aircraft Company responded to Specification C.3/44 with the "Hastings" (H.P.67), a four-engined hauler which went on to see 151 total production units made from 1947 until 1952. These were delivered to the fighting forces of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). The RAF used the Hastings to succeed an aging fleet of Avro York transports with the last Hasting serving into 1977.

The four-engined configuration had two engines installed to either wing mainplane. Each engine drove a four-bladed propeller in puller fashion. The mainplane was an original design intended for an earlier, yet-ultimately abandoned, Handley Page bomber. All-metal construction was used through the Hastings effort. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted along the fuselage sides and the rear was given a traditional single-finned tail unit. Ground running was through a wholly-retractable "tail dragger" undercarriage.

Internally, the aircraft could carry loads of fifty combat-ready troopers or thirty paratroopers. In place of this could be thirty-two medical litters with attending staff or cargo as needed. The cockpit was set to the extreme forward section of the design in the usual way, aft of a short nosecone. The fuselage was tubular and completed with a large cargo door along port side aft of the mainplanes. The selected powerplants became 4 x Bristol "Hercules" Model 191 air-cooled, radial piston engines. The operating crew numbered five.

Initial Hastings prototypes were available as soon as 1946 with a first-flight recorded on May 7th of that year. Notable issues with control and stalling were apparent, forcing revisions to the design. Initial production models were then taken into service with the RAF in October of 1948, first-batch models to satisfy the already-contracted-for 100 examples - designated "Hastings C.Mk.1".

As soon as available the Hastings line was pressed into action during the "Berlin Airlift" of 1948-1949. The campaign saw the Soviet Union cut-off humanitarian access to the devastated German capital. The Hastings was notable in its contribution, delivery some 55,000 tons of goods to awaiting Berliners on the ground, and managed to record the campaign's final flight in October of 1949. Hastings were then used to deliver British paratroopers during the Suez Crisis.©MilitaryFactory.com
At least six of the original 100 Hastings C.Mk.1forms were reworked to become weather reconnaissance platforms, operating under the designation of "Hastings Met.Mk.1" (serving with Coastal Command for their time in the air). A further eight Hastings C.Mk.1 production models were revised to the "Hastings T.1" trainer form - this mark (eight built) was used by Bomber Command to train future "V-bomber" jet-powered bomber crews (the aircraft carried a distinguishing ventrally-mounted radome).

The definitive Hastings became "Hastings C.Mk.2" which brought about changes to the tailplane (enlarged and lowered to further strengthen stability) and more internal fuel stores (to extend operational ranges). Engines were changed over to the Hercules 106 series of 1,675 horsepower each. The C.Mk.2 model managed a cruising speed of 290 miles per hour, ranged out to 1,700 miles, and reached a ceiling of 26,500 feet. Forty-three C.Mk.2s were produced and some of the C.Mk.1 stock was rebuilt to the new Mk.2 standard as "C.Mk 1A".

The Hastings C.Mk.4 became a long-range VIP-centered passenger transport model.

Nineteen RAF bomber squadrons operated the Hastings in its various forms. This included Nos. 24, 36, 47, 48, 51, 53, 59, 70, 97, 99, 114, 115, 116, 151, 202, 242, 297, 511 and the Far East Communications Squadron (FECS).

The RNZAF received the Hastings C.Mk.3 (H.P.95) production model. These were based in the C.Mk.2 production standard but instead fitted the Bristol Hercules 737 engines. Just four were acquired. Operating squadrons included Nos. 40 and 41.

Handley Page was also developing a civilian market model of the same Hastings transport, under the "Hermes" name, but its prototype was lost on December 2nd, 1945 (during its maiden flight). Nevertheless, twenty-nine of the type were eventually produced from 1945 to 1951. The series was introduced for service on August 6th, 1950.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom

Not in Service.


National flag of New Zealand National flag of the United Kingdom New Zealand; United Kingdom
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
VIP Service
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
Special Forces
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
Training (General)
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).

82.0 ft
(25.00 m)
113.0 ft
(34.45 m)
22.5 ft
(6.85 m)
Empty Wgt
48,502 lb
(22,000 kg)
80,028 lb
(36,300 kg)
Wgt Diff
+31,526 lb
(+14,300 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Handley Page Hastings C.Mk.2 production variant)
Installed: 4 x Bristol Hercules 106 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,675 horsepower each and driving four-bladed propeller units in puller fashion.
Max Speed
348 mph
(560 kph | 302 kts)
26,575 ft
(8,100 m | 5 mi)
1,690 mi
(2,720 km | 5,037 nm)
1,030 ft/min
(314 m/min)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Handley Page Hastings C.Mk.2 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)

Supported Types

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hastings - Base Series Name
H.P.67 - Prototype designation
C.Mk.1 - Initial production models; Bristol Hercules 101 engines.
C.Mk.1A - Upgraded C.Mk.1 models to C.2 standard.
Met.Mk.1 - Weather reconnaissance model.
C.Mk.2 - Definitive production mark; revised tail section; Hercules 106 engines.
C.Mk.3 - RNZAF transport aircraft' Bristol Hercules 737 engines; 4 examples procured.
C.Mk.4 - VIP passenger transport; four examples completed.
T.Mk.5 - "V-Bomber" crew trainer conversions from C.Mk 1 production models.

General Assessment
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (348mph).

Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Handley Page Hastings C.Mk.2 operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected above are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (151)
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Handley Page Hastings
Image from the Public Domain.


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