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Handley Page: H.P.42

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1930. Four Engined Forty Seater Passenger Biplane. G-AAGX
November 1932. (G-AAGX Hannibal). (Flight 1932/11/17).

Note: This is a sub-section of Handley Page Aircraft.


  • Civilian Airliner


Number produced

  • 8 (4 x HP.42 and 4 x HP.45)


The Handley Page H.P.42 and H.P.45 were British four-engine biplane airliners designed to a 1928 Imperial Airways specification by Handley Page of Radlett in Hertfordshire.

The H.P.42/45 were the land-based backbones of Imperial Airways and along with the airline's later flying boats are well remembered. Eight were built, four of each type; all were named, with names beginning with the letter "H". The three survivors were pressed into Royal Air Force service at the outbreak of the Second World War.

By 1940, all were lost.


H.P. 42

  • G-AAGX Hannibal - The first flight of the prototype, Hannibal, was on 14 November 1930. On 8 August 1931 the aircraft was operating a scheduled passenger flight from Croydon to Paris when the port lower engine failed. Flying debris from the failed engine struck the propeller of the port upper engine causing it to vibrate so severely that it had to be shut down.
  • G-AAUC Horsa - The aircraft first flew on 11 September 1931. It was impressed into No. 271 Squadron RAF as AS981. The aircraft burned after a forced landing on uneven ground at Moresby Parks, near Whitehaven, Cumberland, on 7 August 1940.
  • G-AAUD Hanno - Hanno first flew on 19 July 1931. It was destroyed in a gale at Whitchurch Airport, Bristol when it was blown together with Heracles and damaged beyond repair on 19 March 1940.
  • G-AAUE Hadrian - Hadrian's first flight was on 24 June 1931. On 6 December 1940, Hadrian was torn loose from its moorings at Doncaster Airport in a gale, cartwheeled, and ended up inverted on a railway track next to the airport.

H.P. 45

  • G-AAXC Heracles - Heracles first flew on 8 August 1931. The aircraft was destroyed in a gale on 19 March 1940 at Whitchurch Airport, Bristol, when it was blown together with Hanno and damaged beyond repair.
  • G-AAXD Horatius - On 9 December 1937, Horatius was struck by lightning whilst flying across the Channel from Paris to Croydon. A four-bladed wooden propeller from the aircraft was salvaged and is now on display at the Croydon Airport Visitor Centre, situated in the former terminal building of Croydon Airport.
  • G-AAXE Hengist - Hengist first flew on 8 December 1931. It was later converted from a European to an Eastern aircraft. Hengist was caught in an airship hangar fire and burned at Karachi, India on 31 May 1937, making it the only H.P.42/45 not to survive until the Second World War.
  • G-AAXF Helena - First flew on 30 December 1931. After a hard landing the aircraft was grounded in 1940; post-accident inspection condemned the airframe due to corrosion, and it was scrapped in 1941.

See Also


Sources of Information