Handley Page H.P.80 Victor

1952

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  STRATEGIC BOMBER, RECON, FLYING TANKERVirtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / Handley Page  

Handley Page H.P.80 Victor

With the intention that the RAF should provide Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent, design work began at Handley Page in 1947 on a long-range four-engined medium bomber that would be able to carry nuclear or conventional weapons internally. The Victor was the last of three V-bombers (named by Sir Winston Churchill) to enter RAF service, preceded by the Valiant and Vulcan.

All three designs were, to some degree, unconventional, for the requirement to carry a heavy payload of weapons at high speed/altitude over long-ranges was not easy to satisfy at a time when turbine power plants were still very limited in thrust. The Handley Page design was a cantilever mid-wing monoplane with leading-edge sweep-back which varied from root to wingtip, calling this configuration a "crescent" wing. The tail unit (in T-tail configuration) had all-swept surfaces, and the structure of this all-metal aircraft was conventional throughout. Unusual features included an eight-wheel bogie for each of the main landing-gear units, and hydraulically operated air brakes on each side of, and a large braking parachute stowed in, the tail cone.

The first prototype made its maiden flight on 24 December 1952. The first production B.1, each with four 48.93kN Bristol Siddeley Sapphire turbojets began to enter RAF service with No 232 Operational Conversion Unit in November 1957. The first Victor squadron (No 10) became fully operational at Cottesmore in the spring of 1958. Formation of the planned total of four Victor B.1 squadrons was completed early in 1960. BAA aircraft had ECM and other equipment changes.

B.2 Victors began to enter RAF service (initially with No 139 Squadron) in February 1962. These had more powerful engines, increased wing span, enlarged air intakes, and introduced a "Window'"dispenser pod on the trailing edge of each wing, No 139 Squadron was the first to become operational with the Blue Steel nuclear stand-off bomb in February 1964. Victor squadrons were subsequently specified for low-altitude in addition to high-altitude attack.

Following the B.2's entry into service, Mk 1 aircraft were converted to BK.1 and BK.1A flight-refuelling tankers. Victor B(SR).2 strategic-reconnaissance aircraft entered service with No 543 Squadron at RAF Wyton in the autumn of 1965. These aircraft had the capability to radar map an area of up to 1,942,490km2 during a six-hour period. All Mk 2 versions have since been converted to K.2 tankers, with the first delivered to the RAF on 8 May 1974.

Handley Page H.P.80 Victor

Specification 
 MODELVictor B. Mk 2
 CREW5
 ENGINE4 x Rolls-Royce Conway Mk 201, 9344kg
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight105680 kg232986 lb
  Empty weight41270 kg90985 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan36.48 m120 ft 8 in
  Length35.03 m115 ft 11 in
  Height8.57 m28 ft 1 in
  Wing area223.52 m22405.95 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed1030 km/h640 mph
  Cruise speed957 km/h595 mph
  Ceiling16675 m54700 ft
  Range w/max.fuel7400 km4598 miles
 ARMAMENTbombs

3-View 
Handley Page H.P.80 VictorA three-view drawing (690 x 558)

Comments1-20 21-40
David Houghton, e-mail, 03.10.2020 18:14

Just a little aside to this. I remember quite clearly going to RAF Gaydon for Battle of Britain day in it must have been 1959or 1960. The RAF were just accepting the V Bombers into Squadron service although I believe at that time the Victor had yet to formally enter service. Whatever, for the Battle of Britain celebrations at Gaydon that year there was arranged a full three squadron take off, the first and I believe the only time 9 V Bombers (3 of each type) ever took off at the same time. The noise was quite literally ear shattering but was to a teenage boy quite unbelievable

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John Raine, e-mail, 19.04.2017 05:31

I was a technical apprentice at Handley Page Ltd from 1952 to 1957. I worked for short periods in a variety of shops and offices at the Park Street facility and at Cricklewood. For the last few months of the apprentice ship in the Flight Test Department as a Flight Test Observer - flying mostly in the Victor on test flights. Is anyone around from that period.

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Garry O'Keefe, e-mail, 15.03.2017 19:10

If anyone with stories or anecdotes about the aircraft and can take some time i would be delighted to publish any memories in a book I am writing on the aircraft. I am interested in ground crews besides pilots and anyone who were involved in keeping the aircraft flying in its career.

Many thanks,

G O.Keefe

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Margaret Munn nee Waddington, e-mail, 05.07.2016 18:49

I remember Ken Lyon I worked for him in the 1960's when he was hanger superintendent also John Tank he was one of the flight test engineers. My husband worked in the. Machine shop under Jack Gough. Sorry to see last flight of Vulcan but I always loved the Victor. Thanks

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Sven, 08.09.2015 00:55

Sorry to see the last flight of the Vulcan this year but if you never saw a Victor you missed the best. Anyone remember John Tank or Ken Lyons?

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Rich, e-mail, 11.04.2015 11:11

Hi Gok ... just spotted your request. Use whatever you like. I have a model of a white B1 at home that my grandson calls the "future" bomber.

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Keith Drewett, e-mail, 02.04.2015 23:28

Nav. Inst, on 543 Sqdn Wyton...Liney 1965 to 1969, best aircraft I ever worked on.

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Paul Scott, e-mail, 16.01.2015 22:27

Excellent aircraft, futuristic design, it had some German knowledge applied to the model /wings. Strangely, no mention of its bombload of 35,000lbs, though often quoted 'if' the bomb bay was adequately tailored, it could actually take an amazing 80,000lbs in weight.

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GOK, e-mail, 14.10.2014 18:07

Hi Rich,

Could you PM me please as I'd like to use one of your comments. There was a programme also to fit wing-tip tanks that would have prolonged the life of the aircraft even further, which was very elegant. In the end HS's solution worked OK but it wasn't as well-conceived as the H.P. proposal. A British aviation classic and last of the 4-jet bomber breed by the company who supplied the first.

Many thanks

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Rich, e-mail, 04.07.2014 10:11

In 1964 one of these great white planes visited New Zealand and appeared at a few airshows. This was the one thing I will always remember ... after a low level handling display this great white bird came howling back along the runway at 100' then pitched upwards at 45 degrees and disappeared into the stratosphere. This was 50 years ago ... and I still remember it vividly. The most elegant bomber ever built. If it had it's maiden flight today ... it would still look like a modern aircraft.

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Ron Cass, e-mail, 26.05.2014 04:41

"... and the structure of this all metal aircraft was conventional throughout" is not quite apropos. The structure was spot welded together throughout. The wing skins were a laminate of three skins with the inner of the three corrugated much like corrugated cardboard. This gave such stiff skins that ribs were not used except at the sweep discontinuities. This gave the wings uninterrupted,span wise, fuel tanks, in each span section.

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Michel Bourque, e-mail, 08.02.2014 03:44

Really it got the Rolls Royce look.....

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Richard, e-mail, 30.11.2012 14:00

Gorgeous yet frightening aircraft. I love the shapes. I was at duxford in june 2010, they had one there. It had just arrived and they were planning to restore it. i have taken pics which show the side of the plane with marks on it

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Ann Bolton nee Hawkins, e-mail, 21.07.2012 14:27

My Father, Fred, known as Harry, worked at HP Cricklewood from the mid 30s until his death in 1967. A toolmaker by trade, his final task was laying up the fibreglass radomes for the Victor. I worked as a Weights Engineer at Cricklewood from 1956 and on the various designs of leading edge for the HP115, a test bed for Concorde. I love the Victor, it was the best of the V-bombers. Cosford has a beautifully restored one, at least on the outside and there is one in sand coloured paint at RAF Marham. This is the property of a private buyer and acts as one of the Gatekeepers.

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Mike Laundy, e-mail, 04.03.2012 22:52

I flew the B2 armed with the Blue steel nuclear bomb in 1967 /68 and also the SR2 reconnaissance version in 1969 /70. At our normal operating weights we could achieve 40,000ft in around 7 minutes, it sure beat the Boeing 737-400 I flew 2 decades later which took around 35 minutes to 30,000ft. The highest I flew in a Victor was 55,000 ft and we were still going up at 2000ft a minute when we levelled off! We did a lot of low level flying especially over Canada, all in all a very impressive aircraft.

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Mike Laundy, e-mail, 04.03.2012 22:51

I flew the B2 armed with the Blue steel nuclear bomb in 1967 /68 and also the SR2 reconnaissance version in 1969 /70. At our normal operating weights we could achieve 40,000ft in around 7 minutes, it sure beat the Boeing 737-400 I flew 2 decades later which took around 35 minutes to 30,000ft. The highest I flew in a Victor was 55,000 ft and we were still going up at 2000ft a minute when we levelled off! We did a lot of low level flying especially over Canada, all in all a very impressive aircraft.

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g.baldwin, e-mail, 30.12.2011 14:34

my late husband tomas baldwin worked on the victor bomber in cricklewood n.w.2 in tthe1950-1960,then moved to radlett herts.he worked on the tail plane.I went to duxford over christmas, but i could not find one.

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Barry, 15.03.2011 17:53

There were 50 B1 /B1A built and 30 B2 /SR2 built which along with it's long gestation to operational ability made the Victor an expensive aeroplane. For all that it was a supreme piece of engineering design. The sadness is that when they were converted to tankers the work was done by Hawker Siddeley at Woodford, because Handley Page had refused to join either Hawker Siddley or BAC no further goverment contracts were forthcoming so the company went into liquidation. As a tanker the Victor did stirling work in the first Gulf War, all that and painted pink!

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Peter Mills, e-mail, 12.01.2011 22:19

I recall seeing the HP Victor on its maiden flight. I was coming home from work (in Stepney, London) and saw this very strange looking aircraft at a fair distance, but because it was so 'strange' is why I paid special attention to it. A few days later the maiden flight was announced in the press.
The tail was what I noticed in particular - bore a strong resemblance to a design that I had submitted to the MoD.
I was, for a while, placed upon the their official designers list - but to be honest, I think they (the MoD) were being very kind to a young lad of 16 years of age!

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paul scott, e-mail, 14.08.2009 00:16

Excellent aircraft - I hope the remaining few are preserved well. I like the Vulcan, but this is no doubt a classic British shape as well!

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1-20 21-40

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