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Handley Page O/100


hpo1002


Frederick designed a large biplane to attempt a non-stop transatlantic crossing for the DailyMail’s £10,000 prize, but war intervened. He used his design experience, assisted by the Admiralty, to propose plans for a 100ft-span twin-engined bomber for the Royal Naval Air Service, the O/100 to an Admiralty specification of December 1914.


The Royal Naval Air Service Admiralty was thinking in terms of a large twin- engined aeroplane able to carry a crew of two and six 112 lb bombs on overwater patrols.
Identified originally as the Handley Page Type O, it was later designated O/100, the figure 100 indicating its wing span in feet. When the prototype was completed, it was the largest aeroplane that had then been built in the UK.


The O/100 was of biplane configuration, with folding unequal-span constant-chord wings that had straight leading and trailing edges; these were mounted on a square-section cross-braced fuselage that terminated in a biplane tail unit. The tailskid landing gear had twin wheels on each main unit and the two 250hp Rolls-Royce Eagle II engines, in armoured nacelles, were mounted between the wings just outboard of the fuselage. Accommodation in the first prototype was in a glazed cockpit enclosure, the floor and sides of the cockpit being protected by armour plate.


Flown for the first time on 18 December 1915, the O/100 was found to be inadequate in performance, and the second prototype had a revised open cockpit for a crew of two (with provision for a gunner's position forward), the cockpit armour plating and most of that incorporated in the engine nacelles was deleted, and new radiators were introduced for the water-cooled engines. When the machine was first tested in April 1916 there was a marked improvement in performance, to an extent that in early May it was flown with 20 Handley Page employees aboard to a height of just over 2135m.

Formation of the first 'Handley Page Squadron' began in August 1916 and this unit became operational in France in late October or early November; its first recorded bombing attack was made on the night of 16-17 March 1917 against an enemy-held railway junction.

One of the first three sent to France was delivered intact to the Germans when its pilot landed by mistake behind the enemy lines.

Altogether 46 were built and, after an initial period of daylight attacks against German shipping, they became the spearhead of British night bombing forces until succeeded in the last three months of the war by the improved O/400, with 250 hp Eagle IV or 360 hp Eagle VIII engines. Together the two types formed the heavy component of the Independent Force.


In addition to their use as night bombers on the Western Front, O/100s also equipped the first bomber squadron of the RAF's Independent Force following its establishment on 5 June 1918.

Engine: 2 x Rolls-Royce Eagle II, 250 hp.
Max take-off weight: 6356 kg / 14013 lb
Empty weight: 3632 kg / 8007 lb
Wingspan: 30.48 m / 100 ft 0 in
Length: 19.15 m / 62 ft 10 in
Height: 6.71 m / 22 ft 0 in
Wing area: 153.10 sq.m / 1647.95 sq ft
Max. speed: 122 km/h / 76 mph
Ceiling: 2652 m / 8700 ft
Bombload: sixteen 112 lb. bombs

 

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