Handley Page, Sir Frederick

SUBJECT AREA: Aerospace
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b. 15 November 1885 Cheltenham, England
d. 21 April 1962 London, England
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English aviation pioneer, specialist in large aircraft and developer of the slotted wing for safer slow flying.
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Frederick Handley Page trained as an electrical engineer but soon turned his attention to the more exciting world of aeronautics. He started by manufacturing propellers for aeroplanes and airships, and then in 1909 he founded a public company. His first aeroplane, the Bluebird, was not a success, but an improved version flew well. It was known as the "Yellow Peril" because of its yellow doped finish and made a notable flight across London from Barking to Brooklands. In 1910 Handley Page became one of the first college lecturers in aeronautical engineering. During the First World War Handley Page concentrated on the production of large bombers. The 0/100 was a biplane with a wing span of 100 ft (30 m) and powered by two engines: it entered service in 1916. In 1918 an improved version, the 0/400, entered service and a larger four-engined bomber made its first flight. This was the V/1500, which was designed to bomb Berlin, but the war ended before this raid took place. After the war, Handley Page turned his attention to airline operations with the great advantage of having at his disposal large bombers which could be adapted to carry passengers. Handley Page Air Transport Ltd was formed in 1919 and provided services to several European cities. Eventually this company became part of Imperial Airways, but Handley Page continued to supply them with large airliners. Probably the most famous was the majestic HP 42 four-engined biplane, which set very high standards of comfort and safety. Safety was always important to Handley Page and in 1920 he developed a wing with a slot along the leading edge: this made slow flying safer by delaying the stall. Later versions used separate aerofoil-shaped slats on the leading edge that were sometimes fixed, sometimes retractable. The HP 42 was fitted with these slats. From the 1930s Handley Page produced a series of bombers, such as the Heyford, Hampden, Harrow and, most famous of all, the Halifax, which played a major role in the Second World War. Then followed the Victor V-bomber of 1952 with its distinctive "crescent" wing and high tailplane. Sir Frederick's last venture was the Herald short-haul airliner of 1955; designed to replace the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3, it was only a limited success.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1942. CBE 1918. Lord Lieutenant of the County of Middlesex 1956–60. Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Bibliography
1950, "Towards slower and safer flying, improved take-off and landing and cheaper airports", Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Further Reading
Two accounts of Handley Page's life and work were published in the Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society December 1962 and July 1964.
D.C.Clayton, 1970, Handley Page: An Aircraft Album, London (for details of his aircraft).
C.H.Barnes, 1976, Handley Page Aircraft since 1907, London.
JDS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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