Handley Page Hastings

Handley Page Hastings TG511 (T5) on display in the National Cold War Exhibition at the RAF Museum Cosford.

The Handley Page Hastings was a British troop-carrier and freight transport aircraft designed and built by Handley Page Aircraft Company for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Upon its introduction to service during September 1948, the Hastings was the largest transport plane ever designed for the service.

Development of the Hastings had been initiated during the Second World War in response to Air Staff Specification C. 3/44, which sought a new large four-engined transport aircraft for the RAF. The aircraft was designed to be capable of carrying a payload of up to 30 tons, and to have a range of 2,500 miles.

The first prototype Hastings took to the air on 7 May 1946, and the aircraft entered service with the RAF in September 1948. The Hastings quickly became a workhorse of the RAF, and was used in a variety of roles, including troop transport, freight carriage, and paratroop dropping.

The Hastings saw extensive service during the Berlin Airlift, when it was used to deliver supplies to the beleaguered city. The aircraft also saw service in the Suez Crisis, the Malayan Emergency, and the Cold War.

The Hastings was retired from RAF service in 1977, and was replaced by the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. However, the aircraft remained in service with other air forces for some years, and was used by the Portuguese Air Force until 1991.

The Handley Page Hastings was a capable and versatile aircraft, and served the RAF with distinction for over 30 years. The aircraft was well-liked by its crews, and was known for its ruggedness and reliability.

More photographs of the Handley Page Hastings at RAF Cosford.

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