The Handley Page Hermes was a long range British aircraft, powered by four Bristol Hercules 763 engines. It first flew on 2 December 1945 and unfortunately crashed on that very first test flight. After a delay and some redesign, the second prototype took flight on 2 September 1947.

Designed to carry between 40 and 82 passengers up to 5,719km (3,554 miles), the Hermes IV entered service with BOAC on 6 August 1950. This was on the route from London Heathrow to Accra via Tripoli, Kano and Lagos.

Handley Page Hermes Video

Following on from the last video on the Boeing 717, this week we head over to Great Britain for a look at the Handley Page Hermes. This colour production dating from the 1950s runs for just under 12 minutes.

It begins with a train journey and our passengers, who are dressed to the nines, arrive at the airport at 3:15. Shortly after, from about 3:56 they board the plane and eventually land in Paris and are onto another train at 8:30.

The second video above is a short newsreel piece by British Pathé running for 20 seconds. It shows the prototype Hermes in its original tail dragger configuration, which is interesting.

Overall Thoughts

Just 29 Handley Page Hermes aircraft were built, and they operated for only a short time with BOAC, being largely retired by 1952. Independent airlines such as Airwork, Skyways, Britavia and Falcon Airways operated the Hermes after that.

The final flight in commercial service was operated by Air Links on 13 December 1964, with one operated by the military on test work through to 1969. Today there is one fuselage preserved at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford in the UK.

Have you ever flown on board a Handley Page Hermes? What did you think of the videos? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Alex Christie on