Handley Page HP.15 / V/1500
Chief designer George Volkert designed the even bigger four-engined V/1500, but the Armistice was signed before it became operational.
The V/1500 was of conventional construction. The 64ft 4in-long fuselage was mainly of silver spruce, with ash cross-beams strengthening the bomb bay. The folding wings were also of spruce with cross-bracing tie-rods and, except for the plywood sheathed nose section containing the open cockpit, the aeroplane was fabric covered. The four engines installed in tandem pairs in mid-gap were 12-cylinder 375 hp geared Rolls-Royce Eagle VIIIs. The tractor units turned 13ft 5in diameter two-bladed propellers, and the pushers drove four-bladers of 10ft 4in diameter.
Ordered as an experimental bomber in the summer of 1917, the V/1500 was envisaged bombing Berlin from bases in England and was designed to carry five tons of crew and disposable load. The Armistice intervened before the weather was sufficiently favourable for the three machines delivered to fly to the German capital. Power for each aircraft was provided by four 279.5kW Rolls-Royce Eagle VIIIs mounted in tandem pairs.
To accelerate its introduction to RAF service, production was ordered in January 1918, ahead of first flight, although the V/1500 took to the air for the first time on May 22, only nine months after definitive design had begun.
At 126 ft it had the longest wingspan of any bomber the RAF would operate, but the type was too late to see service before the war ended. Nevertheless, with an endurance of 17hr it was ideally suited to long-range flights, and its four engines, mounted between the upper and lower mainplanes as tractor/pusher pairs, gave it at least some measure of redundancy.
In October 1918, the Independent Force received its first bombers, each planned to drop 7,500 lb of bombs on the German capital.
255 aircraft were ordered, but only three were operational with No.166 Squadron at the time of World War l’s end, and only about 32 were completed by the parent company, Beardmore in Scotland and Harland and Wolff in Northern Ireland.
The first long flight of a V/1500 was from England to India, which included one stretch of 1,285km over water and another non-stop stage of 1,610km from Cairo to Baghdad.
Only three squadrons (Nos 166, 167 and 274) ever received the type, which made some long-distance flights including the bombing of Kabul in 1919 from bases in India. The type disappeared from service in the early 1920s when it was appreciated that the smaller Vimy could undertake the same basic role at lower manpower and operating costs.
Engines: 4 x Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII, 280kW (375 hp).
Props: 2 blade.
Span: 38.41 m (126ft
Length: 19.51 m (64ft).
Height: 23 ft. / 7.01 m
Empty weight: 7983 kg / 17,600 lb
MTOW: 13608 kg (30,000 lb).
Max speed: 159 km/h / 99 mph at 6,500ft
Cruise speed: 75 mph.
Wing area: 2,800 sq.ft
Operational range: 1,300 miles.
Stalling speed: 38 mph.
Armament: 4 or 8 x 7.7-mm (0.303-in) mg / 3402 kg (7,500 lb) bombs