Herald Info & Specs

A Brief History…

Borne out of a requirement to provide the post-war aviation market with a more modern, short range airliner to replace the likes of the ubiquitous yet ageing DC-3 and a glut of other increasingly obsolete minor types, the H.P.R.7 Herald came to fruition thanks primarily to a design that had been inherited from the defunct Miles Aircraft. However, while Vickers would go on to corner the market where mid-range turboprop airliners were concerned, thanks primarily to well received levels of in-flight comfort and quietness that its new turboprop engines provided, Handley Page decided instead to play it safe and took what would later become a commercially fatal decision to retain piston engines which resulted in its only real competitor at the time – the Dutch, Dart powered Fokker F-27 – gaining a large number of orders from airlines worldwide, while at the same time orders that had been placed with Handley Page were quickly cancelled in favour of its forward thinking competitor.

While the F-27 may have taken to the air three months after the Herald, the company’s choice of engines had now left Handley Page playing catch-up and quite naturally, the decision was taken to follow Fokker’s lead and equip the Herald with similar although slightly more powerful Rolls Royce Darts. The first prototype G-AODE was subsequently destroyed in a fire, although the second aircraft G-AODF had also been converted to Dart power and thus became the de-facto ‘prototype’ Dart Herald in the process. However, despite the fact that the new Dart Herald would take to the air more than nine months before the first production F-27 had rolled off of the factory line, the damage had been done and most of the orders for this particular sector of the market had already gone to Fokker or its U.S. licensed equivalent the FH-227 that was built by Fairchild.

On paper, the two aircraft looked very similar although, the Herald quickly began to reveal several weaknesses when compared to its Dutch stable mate. While theoretically having more power available, Heralds were about 10% slower in the cruise and performed poorly in the climb. They were also unnecessarily over-engineered which gave airline maintenance crews more than a few headaches. Tropical or other hot environment operations left a lot to be desired too. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom and thanks to its larger wing area and oversized vertical stabiliser, the Herald was considered to be an extremely stable platform and excelled in poor weather. Indeed, it was the Channel Islands that would see a multitude of visits by various Heralds during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, this aircraft being particularly suited to the three airport’s sometimes demanding meteorological conditions.

The Herald was also better suited to rough landing strips, no doubt due in part to the fitting of a two wheeled nose gear compared to the single wheel of the F-27. By the mid-1960s, 45 airframes had been sold and while it was now clearly evident that the Herald would never become a commercial success, the airlines or military units that were operating them seemed to be satisfied with the performance that they offered. However in 1965, a Canadian EPA Herald broke up and fell out of the sky due to a massive failure of the airframe that caused the aircraft to split in two down the length of the cabin floor. All Heralds were subsequently recalled for structural modification while prior to this major issue being revealed, only a handful of airframes had been sold while a 1966 order from V.A.S.P. for six, 700 series aircraft was later cancelled.

In commercial service, the Heralds would find themselves mostly being confined to European and Canadian skies while several, strengthened 400 series aircraft would spend just over a decade with the Royal Malaysian Air Force. By the mid-1970s, most of the remaining Heralds were slowly but surely making their way into BAF’s hands who were at the time, looking for a cheap replacement for their ageing and dwindling Carvair fleet. In fact, around 1/3rd of the total production run would end up at Southend from where they would fly to such destinations as the Channel Islands, Rotterdam, Ostend and Basle, while a good number of them would go off on lease abroad for several months at a time. However, by the mid-1990s the Herald’s day was drawing swiftly to an end, all aircraft having been converted into pure freighters with the sole remaining operator of the type Channel Airways. The very last flight by a Herald would come on October 20th 1997 when G-AVPN was delivered to a museum in Elvington, Yorkshire where it was hoped that she would be preserved. However, in 2015 she was summarily decapitated and now only the forward section remains.

 

Handley Page HPR.7 Herald Variants

HPR.7-100

Standard production model – 46-47 seat airliner (Total of 6 built including 2 prototype conversions)

HPR.7-200

Forward fuselage lengthened by just over 1 metre increasing pax capacity to 56 (36 built)

HPR.7-400

Strengthened version for R.M.A.F. with twin rear cargo doors (8 built)

Other unrealised versions included:

HPR.7-500

Improved 400 series with more powerful Darts

HPR.7-600

Further stretch incorporating an extra 1.5m section and more powerful Darts for up to 68 pax

HPR.7-700

Ordered by V.A.S.P. – Basically a modified 200 series with higher capacity Darts and extra fuel tanks – Order later cancelled

HPR.8

A car ferry version with nose doors which was overlooked in favour of the Carvair, the very aircraft that the Herald would later replace

HP.124

Military model designed to compete for the RAF’s requirement for a medium tactical freighter – Eventually won by the H.S. Andover

 

Handley Page H.P.R.7 (200 Series) Specifications

Number Built

50

Type

Short Range Turboprop Airliner

Length

75ft 6in (23m)

Wingspan

94ft 9in (28.90m)

Configurations

Up to 56 pax

Cabin reconfiguration time quoted by BAF – 30 minutes

BAF – Mixed Configurations

48 pax + 630kg cargo

44 pax + 730kg cargo

40 pax + 1200kg cargo

36 pax +1500kg cargo

32 pax + 1900kg cargo

28 pax + 2600kg cargo

16 pax + 3400kg cargo

or up to 5500kg of cargo

Cruise Speed

205kt – 185mph (298km/h)

Ceiling

18,000ft (unloaded)

15,000ft (loaded)

Range

1,630nm (empty)

800nm (half loaded)

400nm (fully loaded)

Engines

2 x 1,910shp Rolls Royce Dart 527 Turboprops