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Handley Page Type B




In 1909 Handley Page took a commission to build a prototype biplane aircraft, the concept of W.P.Thompson of Freshfield, Lancashire. Thompson had registered ideas of aircraft control by variable wing area and centre of gravity movement and was keen to build an aircraft with "pendulum stability", with most of its mass mounted flexibly below the wings. The concept involved having pendulum stability by having the pilot, powerplant, and undercarriage suspended beneath the wing structure.
This was done with input from both Handley Page and Thompson's assistant Robert Fenwick. The wide gap biplane wings were of two-bay form though in the absence of a fuselage between the wings there were further interplane struts. Two tail booms, each based on a cross-braced pair of members joined to the upper and lower wings, supported a biplane tail. It had no fuselage, the 60 hp Green engine was flexibly mounted below the lower wing and drove a pair of pusher propellers, mounted at lower wing level, via a pair of chains.
Designated the Handley Page Type B, the undercarriage collapsed on the first attempt at flight in late 1909. It was then wrecked when part of the works shed collapsed in a gale. Handley Page decided to have no more to do with what he considered a failure and nicknamed it "The Scrapheap".
Repaired, it was delivered to Freshfield where Thompson, who had formed Planes Ltd, resumed trials.

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