Handley Page H.P.81 Hermes
by last date | by total length | by number


01.07.2022 18:44

30.06.2022 23:31

30.06.2022 23:20

Letov Sh 328

30.06.2022 22:56

Aero A 102

30.06.2022 22:45

30.06.2022 19:34

Junkers Ju 390

29.06.2022 23:30

Curtiss Eagle

29.06.2022 19:16

29.06.2022 01:31

Fiat G.50 Freccia

29.06.2022 01:29

Fiat CR.42 Falco

28.06.2022 22:17

28.06.2022 16:52

28.06.2022 13:21

28.06.2022 03:47

27.06.2022 19:58

24.06.2022 23:05

23.06.2022 23:22

23.06.2022 20:21

21.06.2022 16:19

Boeing 307 / C-75 Stratoliner

21.06.2022 01:55

Martin P5M Marlin

20.06.2022 15:41

Curtiss Model D

20.06.2022 15:22

Burgess HT-B / HT-2

20.06.2022 15:09

Burgess Model H

19.06.2022 21:03

Saunders-Roe SR.A/1

19.06.2022 14:11

19.06.2022 11:58


18.06.2022 14:43

Airspeed A.S.57 Ambassador

16.06.2022 17:32

Martin MB

13.06.2022 04:39

11.06.2022 22:29

tony Clarke, e-mail, 17.05.2022 04:59

My first flight was in an Airwork's Hermes. Flew from Aden to Khartoum, El Adem. Diverted to Luqa because of engine failure, Flew over the Empire Windrush on fire in the Med, landed at Blackbushe. Interesting first flight for a 7 year old.

Mike Longhurst, e-mail, 06.05.2022 00:46

I flew to Singapore in mid 1954 and back in 1957. Out was with Skyways from Stanstead and back might have been Airwork. I had a sit in the captain's seat as we approached the first stop in Brindisi. Others out and / or back were Bagdad, Bahrain, where the heat hit us as they opened the door. Delhi overnight stop, Karachi. We were sprayed for bugs a couple of times. I loved the Hermes until I saw a BOAC Connie that we flew alongside after Bagdad for a while. I dreamed of being in that. Not only was it better looking, the BOAC passengers got favoured treatment all along the route.

David Swindlehurst, e-mail, 15.02.2022 10:37

In late November/early December 1956 I was a Royal Engineers surveyor on a Skyways trooping flight from Stansted bound for Singapore, routed through Brindisi, Baghdad and points east. Hours after leaving Stansted the aircraft was diverted to Malta (apparently because of a diplomatic irregularity with Italy) leading to an unscheduled overnight stopover. The following day the aircraft left Malta for Baghdad but was routed through Ankara, to refuel, because of inadequate fuel capacity. On touchdown at an unsuitable military airfield outside Ankara the aircraft's undercarriage was severely damaged by a soft surface, rendering the aircraft unserviceable. The military personnel were bussed into down-town Ankara and accommodated in the Deniz Palaz, a poor-quality caravanserai. After a 3-day unscheduled overnight stay, a replacement aircraft (Hermes G-ALDY) was supplied to complete the journey. I would like to identify the original aircraft that left Stansted. Do you know if there is a report of the incident or a copy of the pilot's notes available, please?

David M Swindlehurst

Gaynor Laight, e-mail, 14.09.2021 17:50

Flew to Singapore in 1958 from Blackbush. We went via Brindisi, Ankara, Baghdad, we should have gone to Basara but there was a heavy sandstorm, then on to Karachi, Calcutta and New Dehli. Not sure where but we got off the plane in India and they immediately fumigated it. We had several rough landings plus we were told the lights had to be switched off so we could take off - that might be a slight exaggeration as it was a long time ago! We did not stop after that until we arrive at Paya Lebar to be met by my father. Great experience and did not put me off flying.

Peter Swaine, e-mail, 09.08.2021 15:15

My family (minus Dad - who had flown out earlier) left Stanstead in January 1956 bound for Singapore. The aircraft was Hermes G-ALDA. I remember the many stops for their understanding of hospitality. I have a vivid memory of a late landing in Karachi with a short bus ride to the accommodation. The name of the hotel was quite unrelated to its appearance. Hotel Paradise was a run-down place and I remember standing at the back of it and all I could see was desert. The refreshments consisted of a jug of lime juice on a table outside the room.
I would love to hear from anyone with similar experiences on this route.

John Henesy, e-mail, 12.02.2021 21:31

Flew from Blackbushe in March 1955 bound for Singapore. Had three attempts to take off and managed it on the third go. Got over France and had to turn back to Blackbushe due to 'technical problems'. Finally got off again and landed in Rome. From there to Nicosia in Cyprus where we were delayed for about 6 hours. Next stop Bahrain then Karachi where we stayed overnight. Then New Delhi and Calcutta, where we stayed overnight. Final stop was Bangkok before landing in Changi - about 24 hours behind schedule. Interesting experience for my first ever flight!

John Walker, e-mail, 29.11.2020 00:38

I flew with my family in mid May 1956 (before the 21st) from Singapore to UK in an Airwork Hermes. The flight routed Paya Lebar-Bangkok-Calcutta-Delhi-Karachi (night stop)-Bahrain-Beirut-Brindisi (night stop)-Marseille-Blackbushe. I would love to identify the exact dates and the identity of the Hermes. The stop at Marseille was probably unusual and may help to pin point the details.

Sarah Elizabeth Hymas, e-mail, 04.11.2020 13:05

Hi, I am interested in Handley Page HP.81 Hermes 4A (registration: G-ALDF) crash off Sicily on August 25th 1952. My two older sisters, then aged five and three, were aboard with my mother who was six months pregnant. Seven people lost their lives and survivors were rescued by a fishing boat from Trapani. I would love to hear from other survivors or perhaps family members of anyone involved. My email is sarahehymas@hotmail.com. Thanks.

Patricia Redstone, e-mail, 03.07.2020 17:54

I noticed a message from Geoff Milner earlier in this thread regarding the incident involving G-ALDO landing at Paya Lebar 29th Oct. '57 when his mother was No.1 stewardess on the plane. Landing approx. 4pm local time in appalling weather, the plane overshot the runway into a ditch and tipped up - as Geoff Wills said earlier in this thread, great photo in the Straights Times the following day! I too was on this plane with my two children aged 2 and 3 flying out to join my husband stationed in Singapore with the RAF. We were in the rear-facing seats immediately behind the cockpit and I remember the pilot's distinguished handlebar moustache as he came through the curtain saying "Sorry about that, get out as quickly as you can!" We then made our way out the front RH door, first dropping my two small children down into the arms of Malay policemen, then I made my way down a knotted rope stepping into deep mud - the rain at the time was torrential! I've seen the photos in Straights Times but Geoff Milner mentioned he may have some additional photos and would be most interested to see them, together with the official accident report if anyone has it as I have not so far been able to find this online? Thanks in advance, Patricia

Barry Redgate, e-mail, 10.05.2020 12:47

I was a technical officer in the project branch of BOAC and in April 1949 was the BOAC observer on the performance assessment carried out at Boscombe Down by order of HMG. We then took the aircraft to Castel Benito (now Tripoli) in Libya and then to Khartoum for high temperature trials. The pilot was the late Hedley Hazelden. The aircraft involved was the prototype Hermes I G-AKFP.

Yvonne Hughes, 08.05.2020 02:28

I flew back from Singapore aged 6 weeks on a Hermes born 30th September 1955, I am interested in this particular plane, my dad was in the R.A.F. at the time and said I attended the Ambassadors ball and stop in various places, he said he had a map of whete we stopped but can't find it, I would be interested to know where I went or should I say stop at along the way, would be greatful of any help with this, thank you, Yvonne Mann at the time .

Yvonne Hughes, e-mail, 08.05.2020 02:28

I flew back from Singapore aged 6 weeks on a Hermes born 30th September 1955, I am interested in this particular plane, my dad was in the R.A.F. at the time and said I attended the Ambassadors ball and stop in various places, he said he had a map of whete we stopped but can't find it, I would be interested to know where I went or should I say stop at along the way, would be greatful of any help with this, thank you, Yvonne Mann at the time .

Yvonne Hughes, e-mail, 08.05.2020 02:28

I flew back from Singapore aged 6 weeks on a Hermes born 30th September 1955, I am interested in this particular plane, my dad was in the R.A.F. at the time and said I attended the Ambassadors ball and stop in various places, he said he had a map of whete we stopped but can't find it, I would be interested to know where I went or should I say stop at along the way, would be greatful of any help with this, thank you, Yvonne Mann at the time .

Barry, e-mail, 05.01.2018 13:16

For James Talbot. James I live in a house once owned by Gerrard Fane who I think was a friend of your Dads. I have some artefacts that I am certain belong to your father that were here when we moved in. Hoping you see this!

Barry, e-mail, 05.01.2018 12:57

For James Talbot. James I live in a house once owned by Gerrard Fane who I think was a friend of your Dads. I have some artefacts that I am certain belong to your father that were here when we moved in. Hoping you see this!

denis arthur stafford, e-mail, 01.05.2017 19:30

I flew back from Singapore in 1956, we had overnight stays at Karachi then a day delay in Calcutta due to problems then a stay in Brindisi before landing at Blackbushe.
it was a bumpy flight due to the weather conditions.It was the first time most of us had flown.

Guy Ayling, e-mail, 06.01.2017 12:26

Message for James Talbot. I am Headmaster of Llandovery College where your late father was a pupil. We are constructing a timeline of eminent Old Llandoverians and I was hoping you might have a picture of him. Please contact me on warden@llandoverycollege.com
Diolch yn fawr.

George adams, e-mail, 16.07.2016 06:09

G-ALDT if I remember right

George adams, e-mail, 16.07.2016 05:18

September 1951
First airliner flight for me aged 11.
Off to school in England
Route Nairobi Entebbe Khartoum at night, Cairo ditto, Rome dawn, then Cool London.
What an introduction to a life in aviation!!!

David N J Manning, e-mail, 07.06.2016 22:13

Correction: It was the end of 1954 .

David N J Manning, e-mail, 07.06.2016 22:12

My mum , brother and I (age 6 ) flew to Dar es salaam at the end of 1956 , I remember being airsick for the entire flight , 2 days .Landed at Rome;Bengazi:Cairo;Khartoum;Entebe and Dar.Don't think we went to Nairobi.Almost put me off flying for life! But I think it must have been one of the last BOAC flights for the Hermes . I think the airoplane's name began with S .

D.cranshaw, e-mail, 31.05.2016 01:46

Flew on Hermes GALDO pilot B.Talbot.in 1954.stopped off at Brindisi,Nicosia,(had tyre failure and waited 24 hrs whilst replacement flown from U.K.)Bahrain,karachi,delhi,calcutta and then Bangkok prior to flight to Singapore with engine failure on the last lap.Quite an experience for a thirteen year old who had never flown before!Only took 5days!!!

John Terry, e-mail, 25.11.2015 21:46

In 1957 my father was posted to RAF Seletar and flew out to Singapore on G-ALDA. 3 Months later, my mother and I followed him on this accompanied posting, again on G-ALDA. Six months after this my sister joined us, again travelling on G-ALDA
In all cases the route I belive was Cyprus, Bahrain, Karachi, Calcutta, Changi although I cannot now be sure of the route. I do recall during the stops an abundance of eggs and Camel steaks. I believe the height we travelled at was 10,500 feet. Leaving Cyprus there was a loud bang and the a/c returned but was able to leave several hours later. I was amazed and delighted to find several photographs of G-ALDA on the net and will never forget the running up of its engines prior to take off.

We had an Empire in those days and whilst we didn´t have too much television or anything else, they were good times.

john mills, e-mail, 12.11.2015 16:49

My first ever flight was 19.7.1954 as 22year old RAF national service man. I left Blackbush in Air Work Hermes G-AKFD at 22-oo Hrs arriving Malta 03-40. Departing 05-30 to arriving Fayid 10-30 am. After time there and RAF Eastleigh Nairobi flown between by RAF Vickers Valetta. When demob time came I left Eastleigh again by RAF Valetta to Juba 3 Hrs. then on to Kartoum 3.45 Hrs. Overnight stay then on then on to
Wadi Halfa 2.20 Hrs. then to Fayid 3.25 Hrs. Thus early on 16.8 1955. borded Britania Hermes G-ALDJ and let Fayid for return with stop at malta to arrive back at blackbush at 15.00 Hrs. under Captain D. Williams whose flight bulletin shows us flying 30 miles west of Paris at 6500 ft ?? at 215 mph. Sorry to saw both AKFD & ALDY had later unrearable accidents

David Everitt, e-mail, 18.10.2015 18:08

I flew as a 10 year old with my family from Blackbushe to Singapore in 1955 in a Hermes of Airwork Ltd, London.
I'm not sure of the route, but after a stop over in Rome to fix a problem I believe we flew onto Bengazi, and hopped our way via Karachi, Calcutta, had a night in the King George Hotel somewhere, and we spent a night in some sort of Beau Geste fort with armed guards at the gate, truly amazing, finaly landing at Changi, they opened Paya Lebar Airport when we were there.

Chris Pope, e-mail, 02.08.2015 22:41

When I was four years old, my Mum, flew with me and my 1 yr old Brother in a Hermes - I believe of Airworks - from Blackbushe via Brindisi, Ankara, Karachi and Delhi to Paya Lebar in Singapore.
The plane had some sort of mishap on landing at Ankara and the whole of the passenger complement were shunted into a city centre hotel, under armed guard, because they were having some kind of civil war or something. ANY further information about the plane, the crew and/or the incident would be REALLY appreciated as my Mum has now passed away and my memories of this trip are scant to say the least.
Thanks in advance.

Shirley Black, e-mail, 01.04.2015 19:02

I flew with my mother and 3 sisters and 1 brother from London to Singapore via Brindisi Bahrain Beiruit Karachi stop over Bombay stop over Calcutta Stopover Bankok and Singapore 3 days in total and arrived on my 14 Birthday.....
It was marvellous...

Paul Cox, e-mail, 21.12.2014 01:28

In May 1958 I flew from Singapore to Blackbushe via Calcutta, Karachi, Bahrain, Beiruit, Brindisi. We had to stop over in Calcutta for a few days due to engine failure on the way to Karachi

Graham Collins, e-mail, 15.12.2014 18:30

I flew in G-ALDL from Singapore to Stansted in 1959. My Dad Mum and I were leaving Changi to return to UK. My Dad kept a meticulous log of all flights he was on.
The Captain was named Woodley and he flew the aircraft from Paya Lebar to Bangkok to Calcutta. The Captain was then Janaski and he flew Calcutta to Karachi to Abadan to Ankara.
The Captain changed ( no name ) and he flew Ankara to Brindisi to Stansted

Mike Longhurst, e-mail, 01.10.2014 16:42

We flew to Singapore from I think Stanstead in June 1954, stopping off about seven times and taking 4 days. Much as I loved the Hermes, we were travelling parallel with a beautiful BOAC Constellation and on the leg from Baghdad or thereabouts, could see it off to the left for a while. How I wished I was in that! They got better meals and nice little pennants on their tables during stops.
I actually got a ride in the left hand seat over Brindisi. Vivid memories of the wave of heat that struck us as the doors were opened in Bahrain. Flew back in June 1957 with just a few different stops, but both ways I suffered terribly with perforated eardrums.

Peter, e-mail, 18.09.2014 13:40

can some one help me my Mother was on a flight in July 1955
from Blackbushe to Malaya the plan got into difficulties and landed on a dessert air strip before reaching Karachi mum was heavily pregnant and was flown on in a small tween seated aircraft to Singapore the flight was a troop carrying one I would like to know the flight number who was the crew and to here from other passengers maybe even some photos a long shot I know Mum is in her 80s now

iris harris, e-mail, 19.06.2014 00:03

please can anyone tell me the cost of flying on the hermes in the early 50,s when it was just pure luxury i work on the one we have at duxford and children always ask this question

George Adams, e-mail, 25.02.2014 11:01

September 1951. 11 years old and off to school in England from Nairobi via entebbe(awful turbulence)' khartoum (first time I sawa city from the air at night), cairo, Rome at dawn, then cold London
Next time it was argonauts

MIke Saunders, e-mail, 03.02.2014 09:00

I recall reading a long description in FLIGHT of the accident when the BOAC Hermes got lost over the Sahara and eventually had to land in the desert. It was a classic example of the Navigator making observations which did not quite agree so he made them agree !! If anyone can point me to this article I would love to re read it and show it to some of the latest crop of techno aircrew Mike S

Anthony Walsh, e-mail, 11.10.2013 17:46

I forgot to mention the stewardess's were Miss E Downing and Miss D Hayden.

Anthony Walsh, e-mail, 11.10.2013 17:25

April 1958 I flew with G-ALDO to Singapore from Stanstead.Brindisi to Ankara, Basra (God it was hot there)on to Karachi for a nights sleep in a garden chalet, full of giant cockroaches.Next day we flew to Delhi and then on to Calcutta But,half way there we lost an engine due to a storm. Landing safely in Calcutta we had to stay in the great eastern hotel for four days waiting for spares.Rangoon then Bangkok and finally Singapore thanks to Captain B Talbot

Terry Offord, e-mail, 20.07.2013 08:53

I flew from Paya Lebar (Singapore)1959. to Stanstead, we took almost ten days as we were prevented from over flying Iran (or maybe Iraq at the time) after three attempts, eventually we had permission to overfly. General Kassim was in trouble, we had to stay in a Bahrain hotel, a ghastly place in those days, The Aircraft was G-ALDL, nice to fly in, comfortable, unlike today's dreadful high density seating (Cattle Class) Delta Lima was broken-up after being made non operational by Skyways ,(1961). She had belonged originally to BOAC.

Michael Taylor, e-mail, 14.07.2013 23:33

I did the same journey in November 1958. Incident free, save that in Karachi as a 10 year old, I asked what was the meat we were eating in the hotel. It tasted pretty disgusting and was like leather. Camel steak my father chirped up and told me to eat it. The other thing I recall was spending time in the cockpit as we flew from Brindisi to the UK, I think over the Alps.

John Plumb, e-mail, 07.07.2013 13:27

Flew home from Singapore in 1954, the aircraft failed to take off at the end of the runway and careered into the perimeter fence. another day in Singapore while they fixed it.
Stopped at Bangkok, Calcutta, Bahrain, Rome, Nicosia and finally Blackbush.

Lester Stenner, e-mail, 23.09.2012 12:30

My father was Chief Pilot and Training Captain with Airwork(1946 - 1956ish) and flew many hours on the Hermes. I flew with him numerous times, mainly training flights and to Basle, and Fayed, Egypt, on trooping flights. I remember him saying it was a nice aircraft to fly, very stable, but susceptible to engine over heating, and it wasn't good in very hot conditions. It was a BOAC Hermes that 'got lost' over the Desert and crash landed.

Sven, 13.04.2012 00:32

Message for James Talbot.
James my information is from the book That Spread of Wings by Angus Mcmillin. It is quite possible that with the passing of years that such details were vague.
I am a St.Albans man. My father and several of my aunts and uncles were HP employees.The late Angus McMillin was press officer untill the last days of the company and was the uncle of a close friend of mine. As for the day of the flight I can't imagine that it was not a matter of record in the log books available to A M. The crash sight was in the opposite direction to St Albans at Radlet. The runway was paralell with the southbound railway to Kings Cross. I don't know if I can shed any more light on the subject but will do my best if asked. Regards. Sven. (Ndp)

James Talbot, e-mail, 10.04.2012 20:11

and a message for Sven - maybe it was the Sunday as you say - I cannot remember being only 3 months old at the time !! However I do know that he would never have been referred to as JIM and was always known by colleagues and friends as James - are you an American?

James Talbot, e-mail, 10.04.2012 18:24

Yes my late father was the chief test pilot of Handley Page during WW11 and was killed flying the prototype in October 1945. I was christened in the morning and Sir Frederick asked him to take her up on the Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately I believe there was a ballast problem and she went straight up and then down narrowly missing St Alban's town centre. This left my mother widowed with three young children. It was a terrible day with far reaching consequences for us as a family/

Paul, e-mail, 06.12.2011 02:25

29.51 m = 96 ft 10 in

Brian Wright, e-mail, 02.11.2011 21:13

Thanks Sven for the information.I was not aware that my relative was nicknamed 'Ginger' but it is not surprising as he had that colour hair if rather sparse!

Sven, 02.11.2011 12:28

The crash was on Sunday afternoon early in December. The chief test pilot Jim Talbot in command. High speed taxi runs had seemed satisfactory and a test flight was undertaken. The aircraft soon showed pitch instability and despite Talbots efforts crashed into a field just beyond houses near Radlet. Source. That spread of wings by Angus Mcmillin. A private publication by an ex HP employee. A copy is held by the RAES

sven, e-mail, 02.11.2011 00:23

I'm sure I can shed some light on the prototype Hermes crash.I think the person you refer to was known as "Ginger Wright"
I will post again soon with more detail

Brian Wright, e-mail, 01.11.2011 13:12

My cousin, once removed,was a flight engineer with Handley Page. In 1945 he was killed test flying a prototype aircraft which I always understood to have been the forerunner of the Hermes.I was told at the time that the aircraft hardly managed to lift off and crashed on a nearby road.Both pilot and engineer were killed. Can anyone throw any light on this story?My relatives name was Edgar Alexander Wright.

Margaret Ashby, e-mail, 18.10.2011 13:09

I am trying to find a copy of a food menu and a route map for the Hermes in 1952/56.
We have a Hermes at Duxford.

Pete Kitchen, e-mail, 26.04.2011 16:09

I flew the Hermes (Airworks Ltd of London)with my mother and younger brother to Nairobi in 1954. We landed at Naples, Malta, Al Adam, Khartoum and then Nairobi. The whole flight took almost 2 days! I got taken on the flight deck on the leg to Khartoum, sat in the right hand seat. There was a small vent window OPEN on the right hand side of the cockpit window, can you image that today! I asked the pilot who was flying the aircraft because I couldn't see anyone really doing anything. That's when I got introduced to "George"! I was 5 years old at the time.
We flew back to Blackbushe in 1955, on another Airworks Hermes.

COCHE, e-mail, 23.12.2010 23:11

En 1961 j'ai volé sur cet avion G.ALDI - decollage de Lille Lesquin destination Angleterre donc petit vol. Je
ne connais plus le nom de l'aerodrom mais au sol se trouvaient des Bristol 170 de la Silver CIty.

Paul Murphy, e-mail, 03.12.2010 18:13

Is there anyone on this site who actually flew the Hermes as either a pilot or Flight Engineer? If so, can they please contact me on paulmurphy42@yahoo.com I have lots of questions I want to ask someone who actually flew it! Thanks.

Peter Glover, e-mail, 13.11.2010 11:51

Nov/Dec 1958. Skyways Hermes G-ALDH UK to Singapore via Brindisi, Ankara, Abadan, Karachi (stopover), Delhi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Paya Lebar. I was 13, loved every minute and now just retired from an airline career. I went back to boarding school on a Britannia of Hunting Clan, I think, out on holiday on a BOAC Comet and back to school courtesy of a Qantas B707. My dad's "Observers and Air Gunner's Flying Log Book" records the Hermes flight to the minute! (He was like that)

GEOFF MILNER, e-mail, 10.11.2010 10:11


Geoff Wills, e-mail, 19.07.2010 01:44

Can I post accident picture G_ALDO

Charles Sparrow, e-mail, 21.06.2010 19:55

Flew in an Airwork Hermes to Singapore in 1955, 3 days and 3 hours Blackbush to Singapore. Two overnight stops in Nicosia and New Delhi. The seats were facing backwards, this was supposed to be safer in the event of a crash!!!

Geoff Wills, e-mail, 01.06.2010 22:57

Memories !!! Flew to Singapore on G-ALDO in Oct '57 landing at Rome, Ankara, Bahrein, Karachi (overnight stop at Minwallah's Grand Hotel), Delhi, Calcutta , Bangkok finally arriving at Paya Lebar Airport during a monsoon where we finished up in a ditch off the runway. Looked quite dramatic in Straits Times photo next day. Nice way to celebrate my 20th birthday !. Tried to contact Straits Times last year to try and get a copy of photo from their archives but got no reply.

Ray Jones, e-mail, 12.05.2010 17:59

Flew back to the UK from Singapore,Early June 1959 by Skyways Hermes (G-ALDS) with wife and two small children. SWtopped in many places seemed to be for meals, Karrachi overnight, we were turned back after taking off from Bahrien and had to remain in some little hotel from Sunday till Tuesday when a new pilot arrived, he took us to Abadan and then over the mountains to Ankara (we circled over a crashed aircraft) Many had developed dystentry, and where given treatment in Ankara airport in full view of everyone. On to Brindisi for tea and then to Stanstead, a very long and tiring flight. Then because of the lateness of arrival we had to sit up in Euston Station to await the first train to North Wales on the wednesday morning. I think maybe this was one of the last Hermes flights as we saw a Brittania in Calcutta on its way to Singapore, refuelling.

R Bovill, e-mail, 25.08.2008 19:26

An extremely pleasant aircraft to fly. I flew them as an SFO during the late 1950s and the only serious problem I experienced was a failed oil cooler shutter on No 3 which meant the engine had to be shut down due to coring. We were northbound over France and heading for Blackbushe so it was no real problem at those temperatures in winter. The aircraft was, however, underpowered in really hot conditions and we flew therefore at night on long sectors e.g Malta-Kano in order to be able to take on the amount of fuel needed without exceeding the MTOW for met and runway conditions prevailing. The aircraft had on board a gyro-stabilised periscopic sextant and every hour, on the hour, one took a fix. This was never a problem as we were all thoroughly trained in astro navigation and in the absence of any other external navaid over a period of seven hours it was important that we did this. The aircraft was a very stable platform for using a sextant. (An aircraft of another company crashed in the desert after becoming lost as a result of not setting up a gyro compass correctly and not taking accurate fixes. Had they taken their fixes properly they would soon have found that they were off track and would have been able to take corrective action.)

Roger Braga, e-mail, 02.04.2008 01:30

Flew on a Skyways of London Hermes in 1957 troop flight from Blackbushe a/p to Singapore. Flight was not without incident. Firstly a 'long drop' of what felt like at least 1000ft whilst circling over Rome, left everyone shaken. Secondly, undershot approach to Basra/Iraq, only prompt action by pilot revving engines up to max to gain height and banging the a/c down onto the runway, saved us ending up in the Euphrates. What memories - thank god we flew back in an Air Charter Britannia. At least I'm still here to tell my granchildren.

All the World's Rotorcraft

Virtual Aircraft Museum