My father was Chief Pilot and Training Captain with Airwork(1946 - 1956ish) and flew many hours on the Hermes. I flew with him numerous times, mainly training flights and to Basle, and Fayed, Egypt, on trooping flights. I remember him saying it was a nice aircraft to fly, very stable, but susceptible to engine over heating, and it wasn't good in very hot conditions. It was a BOAC Hermes that 'got lost' over the Desert and crash landed.
Sven, 13.04.2012 00:32
Message for James Talbot. James my information is from the book That Spread of Wings by Angus Mcmillin. It is quite possible that with the passing of years that such details were vague. I am a St.Albans man. My father and several of my aunts and uncles were HP employees.The late Angus McMillin was press officer untill the last days of the company and was the uncle of a close friend of mine. As for the day of the flight I can't imagine that it was not a matter of record in the log books available to A M. The crash sight was in the opposite direction to St Albans at Radlet. The runway was paralell with the southbound railway to Kings Cross. I don't know if I can shed any more light on the subject but will do my best if asked. Regards. Sven. (Ndp)
James Talbot, e-mail, 10.04.2012 20:11
and a message for Sven - maybe it was the Sunday as you say - I cannot remember being only 3 months old at the time !! However I do know that he would never have been referred to as JIM and was always known by colleagues and friends as James - are you an American?
James Talbot, e-mail, 10.04.2012 18:24
Yes my late father was the chief test pilot of Handley Page during WW11 and was killed flying the prototype in October 1945. I was christened in the morning and Sir Frederick asked him to take her up on the Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately I believe there was a ballast problem and she went straight up and then down narrowly missing St Alban's town centre. This left my mother widowed with three young children. It was a terrible day with far reaching consequences for us as a family/
Paul, e-mail, 06.12.2011 02:25
29.51 m = 96 ft 10 in
Brian Wright, e-mail, 02.11.2011 21:13
Thanks Sven for the information.I was not aware that my relative was nicknamed 'Ginger' but it is not surprising as he had that colour hair if rather sparse!
Sven, 02.11.2011 12:28
The crash was on Sunday afternoon early in December. The chief test pilot Jim Talbot in command. High speed taxi runs had seemed satisfactory and a test flight was undertaken. The aircraft soon showed pitch instability and despite Talbots efforts crashed into a field just beyond houses near Radlet. Source. That spread of wings by Angus Mcmillin. A private publication by an ex HP employee. A copy is held by the RAES
sven, e-mail, 02.11.2011 00:23
I'm sure I can shed some light on the prototype Hermes crash.I think the person you refer to was known as "Ginger Wright" I will post again soon with more detail
Brian Wright, e-mail, 01.11.2011 13:12
My cousin, once removed,was a flight engineer with Handley Page. In 1945 he was killed test flying a prototype aircraft which I always understood to have been the forerunner of the Hermes.I was told at the time that the aircraft hardly managed to lift off and crashed on a nearby road.Both pilot and engineer were killed. Can anyone throw any light on this story?My relatives name was Edgar Alexander Wright.
Margaret Ashby, e-mail, 18.10.2011 13:09
I am trying to find a copy of a food menu and a route map for the Hermes in 1952/56. We have a Hermes at Duxford.
Pete Kitchen, e-mail, 26.04.2011 16:09
I flew the Hermes (Airworks Ltd of London)with my mother and younger brother to Nairobi in 1954. We landed at Naples, Malta, Al Adam, Khartoum and then Nairobi. The whole flight took almost 2 days! I got taken on the flight deck on the leg to Khartoum, sat in the right hand seat. There was a small vent window OPEN on the right hand side of the cockpit window, can you image that today! I asked the pilot who was flying the aircraft because I couldn't see anyone really doing anything. That's when I got introduced to "George"! I was 5 years old at the time. We flew back to Blackbushe in 1955, on another Airworks Hermes.
COCHE, e-mail, 23.12.2010 23:11
En 1961 j'ai volé sur cet avion G.ALDI - decollage de Lille Lesquin destination Angleterre donc petit vol. Je ne connais plus le nom de l'aerodrom mais au sol se trouvaient des Bristol 170 de la Silver CIty. Amicalement
Paul Murphy, e-mail, 03.12.2010 18:13
Is there anyone on this site who actually flew the Hermes as either a pilot or Flight Engineer? If so, can they please contact me on email@example.com I have lots of questions I want to ask someone who actually flew it! Thanks.
Peter Glover, e-mail, 13.11.2010 11:51
Nov/Dec 1958. Skyways Hermes G-ALDH UK to Singapore via Brindisi, Ankara, Abadan, Karachi (stopover), Delhi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Paya Lebar. I was 13, loved every minute and now just retired from an airline career. I went back to boarding school on a Britannia of Hunting Clan, I think, out on holiday on a BOAC Comet and back to school courtesy of a Qantas B707. My dad's "Observers and Air Gunner's Flying Log Book" records the Hermes flight to the minute! (He was like that)
GEOFF MILNER, e-mail, 10.11.2010 10:11
MESSAGE FOR GEOFF WILLS.MY MOTHER WAS THE NO1 STEWARDESS ON G-ALDO HERMES AIRCRAFT.THE AIRCRAFT LANDED AT 08.30 ON THE MORNING OF THE 29H OCT 1957.DUE TO THE STRONG TAIL WIND THE AIRCRAFT FAILED TO STOP.THE AIRCRAFT AS YOU KNOW SHOT OFF THE RUNWAY AT PAYA LEBAR AND ENDED UP IN THE DITCH.THE TOILETS BROKE AWAY AND THE CONTENTS FLOWED DOWN THE AISLE-NICE.MY MOTHER HAS TWO PHOTOS WHICH I HAVE COPIED BEFORE.ALSO THE OFFICAL ACCIDENT REPORT.THE A/C WAS REPAIRED BY AIRWORK ENGINEERS AND FLOWN BACK TO BLACKBUSHE AIRFIELD.IT WAS BURNT ON THE FIREDUMP ACCORDING TO MY MOTHER.HER NAME THEN WAS BARBARA HEY.IF YOU ARE INTERESTED GEOFF PLEASE CONTACT ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org SPEAK SOON GEOFF MILNER
Geoff Wills, e-mail, 19.07.2010 01:44
Can I post accident picture G_ALDO
Charles Sparrow, e-mail, 21.06.2010 19:55
Flew in an Airwork Hermes to Singapore in 1955, 3 days and 3 hours Blackbush to Singapore. Two overnight stops in Nicosia and New Delhi. The seats were facing backwards, this was supposed to be safer in the event of a crash!!!
Geoff Wills, e-mail, 01.06.2010 22:57
Memories !!! Flew to Singapore on G-ALDO in Oct '57 landing at Rome, Ankara, Bahrein, Karachi (overnight stop at Minwallah's Grand Hotel), Delhi, Calcutta , Bangkok finally arriving at Paya Lebar Airport during a monsoon where we finished up in a ditch off the runway. Looked quite dramatic in Straits Times photo next day. Nice way to celebrate my 20th birthday !. Tried to contact Straits Times last year to try and get a copy of photo from their archives but got no reply.
Ray Jones, e-mail, 12.05.2010 17:59
Flew back to the UK from Singapore,Early June 1959 by Skyways Hermes (G-ALDS) with wife and two small children. SWtopped in many places seemed to be for meals, Karrachi overnight, we were turned back after taking off from Bahrien and had to remain in some little hotel from Sunday till Tuesday when a new pilot arrived, he took us to Abadan and then over the mountains to Ankara (we circled over a crashed aircraft) Many had developed dystentry, and where given treatment in Ankara airport in full view of everyone. On to Brindisi for tea and then to Stanstead, a very long and tiring flight. Then because of the lateness of arrival we had to sit up in Euston Station to await the first train to North Wales on the wednesday morning. I think maybe this was one of the last Hermes flights as we saw a Brittania in Calcutta on its way to Singapore, refuelling.
R Bovill, e-mail, 25.08.2008 19:26
An extremely pleasant aircraft to fly. I flew them as an SFO during the late 1950s and the only serious problem I experienced was a failed oil cooler shutter on No 3 which meant the engine had to be shut down due to coring. We were northbound over France and heading for Blackbushe so it was no real problem at those temperatures in winter. The aircraft was, however, underpowered in really hot conditions and we flew therefore at night on long sectors e.g Malta-Kano in order to be able to take on the amount of fuel needed without exceeding the MTOW for met and runway conditions prevailing. The aircraft had on board a gyro-stabilised periscopic sextant and every hour, on the hour, one took a fix. This was never a problem as we were all thoroughly trained in astro navigation and in the absence of any other external navaid over a period of seven hours it was important that we did this. The aircraft was a very stable platform for using a sextant. (An aircraft of another company crashed in the desert after becoming lost as a result of not setting up a gyro compass correctly and not taking accurate fixes. Had they taken their fixes properly they would soon have found that they were off track and would have been able to take corrective action.)
Roger Braga, e-mail, 02.04.2008 01:30
Flew on a Skyways of London Hermes in 1957 troop flight from Blackbushe a/p to Singapore. Flight was not without incident. Firstly a 'long drop' of what felt like at least 1000ft whilst circling over Rome, left everyone shaken. Secondly, undershot approach to Basra/Iraq, only prompt action by pilot revving engines up to max to gain height and banging the a/c down onto the runway, saved us ending up in the Euphrates. What memories - thank god we flew back in an Air Charter Britannia. At least I'm still here to tell my granchildren.
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