Handley Page W8B

The internal bracing of the fuselage of the O/400 military bomber made it unsuitable for long-term use as a civil transport, leading to redesign and the development of an aircraft identified originally as the Handley Page W/400 (H.P.16 in the 1924 designation system). This combined a fuselage of different construction,

that would allow for up to eight pairs of forward facing seats with a central gangway, with V/1500 type reduced-span wings, V/1500 landing gear and power provided by two Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines. In this form the aircraft was flown for the first time on 22nd August 1919. Testing confirmed that the basic design was sound, but it was decided to incorporate refinements and more powerful engines in the production version, leading to the W.8 prototype (H.P.18 in the 1924 system). Powered by two 450 h.p. (336 kW) Napier Lion IB engines, the W.8 had a further reduction in wing span (from 85 to 75 ft/25.91 to 22.86 m) and some revision of the tail unit, and was flown for the first time on 2nd December 1919. It was flown on 4th May 1920 with a payload of 3,690 lb (1674 kg) to a height of 14,030 ft (4276 m), which then qualified as a British record.

The W.8 was followed by four production W.8b aircraft, which had accommodation for 12 passengers in a well-glazed cabin, the pilot and co-pilot being seated in an open cockpit in the nose. Because of difficulty in the supply of Napier Lions these aircraft reverted to the Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII powerplant, the lower-powered engines accounting for certification to carry only 12 passengers. Three of the aircraft were used by Handley Page Transport and one was supplied to the Belgian airline Sabena; subsequently, three more W.8b transports were licence-built for Sabena by SABCA in Belgium. The W.8c was a 1923 version with Eagle IX engines.

Subsequent versions of the same basic design included the W.8e (H.P.26) which introduced a third engine mounted in the nose of the fuselage, the three-engine powerplant then comprising one 360 h.p. (268 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle IX and two 230 h.p. (172 kW) Siddeley Pumas. One was built for Sabena by Handley Page and eight more were licence-built for that airline by SABCA. A similarly-powered W.8f Hamilton was completed for service with Imperial Airways, this version having also a modified fin, and two more W.8f transports were later built by SABCA for service with Sabena. The W.8g was a Hamilton rebuilt in 1929 with two Rolls-Royce F.XIIA engines.

Other variants of this basic design included one H.P.27 W.9a Hampstead for Imperial Airways, powered initially by three 385 h.p. (287 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar radial engines and later by three 450 h.p. (336 kW) Bristol Jupiter VI radials, and this had accommodation for 14 passengers. Final civil version was the H.P.30 W.10, four of which were built in 1926 by Handley Page for Imperial Airways, and the last of these was not retired from service until 1933. They reverted to twin-engine powerplant, comprising two 450 h.p. (336 kW) Napier Lion IIB engines.


Handley Page W.9a Hampstead
Type: Civil transport
Powerplant: Three 385 h.p. (287 kW) Siddeley Jaguar 14-cylinder radial piston engines
Performance: Maximum speed 114 mph (183 km/h);
Service ceiling: 13,500 ft (4115 m);
Range 400 miles (644 km)
Weights: Empty 8,364 lb (3794 kg):
Maximum take-off 14,500 lb (6577 kg)
Dimensions: Span 79 ft 0 in (24.08 m);
Length 60 ft 4 in (18.39m);
Wing area 1,564.0 sq ft (145.30 mē)