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Handley Page HP.88 / YB.2


To assess the H.P.80 configuration, H.P. proposed a piloted flying scale model aerodynamic prototype based on a Supermarine Attacker fuselage with Swift wing roots, fuel system and instruments, to test the crescent wing and T-tail, together with side-mounted airbrakes. Given design number 88, it was designed by General Aircraft at Feitham, but following the company's merger with Blackburn the H.P.88 was built, to Specification E.6/48 of March 12,1948, at Brough, North Yorkshire, where it was called the YB.2.

The wing was of an early planform, before the outer kink had been modified, and there was an all-moving tail on top of the swept fin. Serialled VX330, the H.P.88 made its first f light at Carnaby on June 21,1951, powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet. The pilot reported that it was very sensitive in pitch.

Late in the construction stage the RAE had insisted that, to limit the inadvertent application of g, a bob-weight be incorporated in the control system, to increase stick forces as extra G was pulled. This should have been located in the aircraft's nose, near the control column, but it was too late to incorporate it on the H.P.88, so it was decided to change the control tube which passed up through the fin to the tail from light alloy to steel to have the same action. Unfortunately, fuselage flexibility was not taken into account. During a high-speed low-level test run at Stansted on August 26,1951, the rear fuselage motion coupled with the control rods and the aircraft developed a divergent oscillation in pitch which exceeded 12g before the H.P.88 broke up, killing Handley Page pilot Douglas Bloomfield. Very little was learned in the comparatively few flights it had made.



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