Handley Page HP.67 Hastings

The Handley Page HP.67 Hastings was a British troop carrier and freight transport aircraft designed and manufactured for the Royal Air Force.

Upon its introduction to service during September 1948, the Hastings was the largest transport plane ever designed for the service.

Development of the Hastings had been initiated during the Second World War in response to Air Staff Specification C.3/44, which sought a new large four-engined transport aircraft for the RAF.

Early on, development of a civil-oriented derivative had been prioritised by the company, but this direction was reversed following an accident.

On 7 May 1946, the first prototype conducted its maiden flight; testing revealed some unfavourable flight characteristics, which were successfully addressed via tail modifications.

The type was rushed into service so that it could participate in the Berlin Airlift; reportedly, the fleet of 32 Hastings to be deployed during the RAF operation delivered a combined total of 55,000 tons (49,900 tonnes) of supplies to the city.

As the RAF’s Hastings fleet expanded during the late 1940s and early 1950s, it supplemented and eventually replaced the wartime Avro York, a transport derivative of the famed Avro Lancaster bomber. 

RAF Transport Command operated the Hastings as the RAF’s standard long-range transport; as a logistics platform, it contributed heavily during conflicts such as the Suez Crisis and the Indonesian Confrontation.

A handful were also procured by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) to meet its transport needs.

Beyond its use as a transport, several Hastings were modified to perform weather forecasting, training, and VIP duties.

A civilian version of the Hastings, the Handley Page Hermes, was also produced, which only achieved limited sales.

Hastings continued to be heavily used by RAF up until the late 1960s, the fleet being withdrawn in its entirety during 1977.

The type was succeeded by various turboprop-powered designs, including the Bristol Britannia and the American-built Lockheed Hercules.

The Handley Page Hastings was a large purpose-built four-engined transport aircraft. 

It was furnished with several modern features, such as a Messier-built fully retractable undercarriage, which was operated hydraulically, and unprecedented stowage space for an RAF transport aircraft.

Roughly 3,000 cubic feet of unrestricted area was used to house various cargoes or passengers.

The cabin was fitted with a Plymax floor, complete with various grooves, channels, and lashing points for securing goods of varying sizes, while the walls were sound proofed and lined with plywood for increased comfort.

Principal access is provided by a freight door on the port side, which incorporates a paratrooper door, while a second paratrooper door is present on the starboard side; on the ground, a rapidly deployable ramp suitable for road vehicles can also be used. 

In service, the aircraft was typically operated by a crew of five; it could accommodate either up to 30 paratroopers, 32 stretchers and 28 sitting casualties, or a maximum of 50 fully equipped troops.

In terms of its structure, the Hastings features a circular cross-section fuselage, which is constructed in three main sections from frames comprising rolled alloy. 

The frames are typically Z-section units using intercostal plate members, but the wing box makes use of larger I-section structures; these support a metal sheet covering that is rivetted directly onto stringer flanges.

The maximum external diameter of 11 ft is maintained for a lengthy portion of the fuselage’s length, running both fore and aft of the wing. 

In order that the Hastings could carry loads too large for its interior, such as Jeeps and some artillery pieces, strong fixture points are present on the underside of the fuselage for the fitting of an under-fuselage carrier platform.

The fuselage is paired with a low-mounted cantilever wing, the connection between the two being smoothly faired. 

This wing comprised a twin-spar structure complete with inter-spar diaphragm-type ribs; the trailing edge ribs terminate just short of the slotted flaps.

Furthermore, the leading edge of the wing’s centre section was readily detachable, providing easy access to various electrical and control systems housed within the wing.

The aircraft’s fuel tanks are located just inboard of the inner engine nacelles; retractable ejector pipes were present within the wing, which were used for jettisoning fuel when such action would be required by an emergency situation.

The Hastings was powered by an arrangement of four wing-mounted Bristol Hercules 101 sleeve valve radial engines.

These engines were installed upon the leading edge of the wing via interchangeable power-eggs; the air intakes and thermostatically controlled oil coolers were also present within the wing.

A Vokes-build automated air cleaner was present upon each engine, typically deploying during landings and take-offs.

Fire detection systems were also installed to alert the crew to such dangers, while fire extinguishers were also installed around each engine.

The engines drove de Havilland-built hydromatic four-blade propellers, which could be individually feathered if required.


HP.67 Hastings

Prototype, two built.

HP.67 Hastings C1

Production aircraft with four Bristol Hercules 101 engines,

94 built all later converted to C1A and T5.

HP.67 Hastings C1A

C1 rebuilt to C2 standard

HP.67 Hastings Met.1

Weather reconnaissance version for Coastal Command, six built.

HP.67 Hastings C2

Improved version with larger-area tail plane mounted lower on fuselage, increased fuel capacity and powered by Bristol Hercules 106 engines, 43 built and C1s were modified to this standard as C1As.

HP.95 Hastings C3

Transport aircraft for the RNZAF, similar to C2 but had Bristol Hercules 737 engines, four built.

HP.94 Hastings C4

VIP transport version for four VIPs and staff, four built.

HP.67 Hastings T5

Eight C1s converted for RAF Bomber Command with ventral radome to train V bomber crews on the Navigation Bombing System (NBS).





50 troops


35 Para troops


32 stretchers and 29 sitting wounded.

20,311 lb (9,213 kg) maximum payload


81 ft 8 in (24.89 m)


113 ft 0 in (34.44 m)


22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)

Wing area

1,408 sq ft (130.8 m2)

Aspect ratio



NACA 23021 at root,

NACA 23007 at tip

Empty weight

48,472 lb (21,987 kg) (equipped, freighter)

Max take-off weight

80,000 lb (36,287 kg)

Fuel capacity

3,172 imp gals (14,420 l; 3,809 US gal)


4 × Bristol Hercules 106,

14-cylinder two-row air-cooled radial engines,

1,675 hp (1,249 kW) each


4-bladed de Havilland constant speed, 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m) diameter


Maximum speed

348 mph (560 km/h, 302 kn) at 22,200 ft (6,800 m)

Cruise speed

291 mph (468 km/h, 253 kn) at 15,200 ft (4,600 m) (weak mixture)


1,690 mi (2,720 km, 1,470 nmi) (maximum payload),

4,250 mi (3,690 nmi; 6,840 km)

(Maximum fuel, 7,400 lb (3,400 kg) payload)

Service ceiling

26,500 ft (8,100 m)

Rate of climb

1,030 ft/min (5.2 m/s)

Time to altitude

26 minutes to 26,000 ft (7,900 m)

Take-off run to 50 ft (15 m)

1,775 yd (5,325 ft; 1,623 m)

Landing run from 50 ft (15 m)

1,430 yd (4,290 ft; 1,310 m).

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