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Handley Page HP.88

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Title: Handley Page HP.88  
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Subject: Handley Page Victor, Handley Page, Supermarine Scimitar, Supermarine Attacker, Supermarine
Collection: British Experimental Aircraft 1950–1959, Handley Page Aircraft
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Handley Page HP.88

Handley Page HP.88
Role Research aircraft
Manufacturer Blackburn Aircraft Limited
First flight 21 June 1951
Status Destroyed
Number built 1

The Handley Page HP.88 was a British research aircraft, built in the early 1950s for Handley Page, to test the aerodynamics of the Victor crescent wing design, and was intended to be a scaled-down version of that aircraft.


  • Development 1
  • Specifications (HP.88) 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
    • Notes 4.1
    • Bibliography 4.2


The single HP.88 aircraft was designed to Air Ministry Specification E.6/48 as an aerodynamic test bed for the proposed Handley Page Victor V-bomber.

To save on time and cost it was decided to base the fuselage on the Supermarine Attacker. This was then changed to the Supermarine Type 510 which had already been redesigned with a swept wing. In the event, the many changes led Supermarine to give the design its own designation as the Supermarine 521. Detail design was contracted to General Aircraft (GAL) at Hanworth Aerodrome, but after GAL merged with Blackburn the work was moved to Brough Aerodrome and the design was given the Blackburn/SBAC designation YB-2. The aircraft was allocated military serial VX330.

The HP.88 had a 0.36 scaled-down equivalent of the Victor's crescent wing and T-tail with slab tailplane. However where the Victor had a high wing, the Type 521 set the wing low on the fuselage. Also, the Victor design continued to be refined, so the HP.88 was no longer representative of the Victor. The HP.88 wing featured inboard trailing-edge flaps, which badly affected trim when deployed. The tailplane was too small to counter the trim change, so a system was developed where the ailerons deflected upwards together to balance the trim forces. The system was wholly automatic with no pilot intervention, and in the event of any failure all surfaces would return to their normal positions.

The Supermarine fuselage was delivered to the Blackburn factory at Brough, where it was modified and the wing fitted. The completed HP.88 was taken by road to Carnaby near Bridlington, where it was flown for the first time on 21 June 1951. Testing by Blackburn revealed pitching oscillations at speeds above 230 knots. Modifications to the tailplane gave acceptable behaviour, with only minor oscillation, up to 450 knots (Mach 0.82). The HP.88 was delivered to Handley Page and on 6 August 1951 was flown to Stansted for further testing.

On 26 August 1951, in preparation for the 1951 SBAC Air Display at Farnborough, the HP.88 carried out a high-speed pass at 300 ft over Stansted, and was seen to start a pitching oscillation before breaking up in mid-air. The "black box" flight recorder subsequently showed pitching forces of at least 12g, the maximum of the recorder's range. The cause was traced to a tailplane servo control system failure. The HP.88 had only flown 14 hours in 26 sorties over a lifetime of just 36 days, and had little time to gather useful information, but the loss of the aircraft was of little significance to the V bomber project; two prototype Victors were already nearing completion by the time of the HP.88's first flight.

Specifications (HP.88)

Data from [1]

General characteristics


See also

Related development



  1. ^ Taylor, 1976. p. 103.


  • Barnes, C. H. Handley Page Aircraft Since 1907. London: Putnam & Company, Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-85177-803-8.
  • Clayton, Donald C. Handley Page, an Aircraft Album. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd., 1969. ISBN 0-7110-0094-8.
  • Hygate, B.; British experimental jet aircraft, Argus, 1990, Pages 106-112.
  • Taylor, John W.R. Jane's Pocket Book of Research and Experimental Aircraft, London, Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd, 1976. ISBN 0-356-08409-4.
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