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The Big Biplane: 1918

The Big Biplane: 1918


        The trial of the first American-built Handley-Page aeroplane, driven by Capt. E.B. Waller, of the British royal air force, yesterday was witnessed by President Wilson and Secretary Baker. A crowd of more than 5,000 greeted the President when he arrived at the polo field in Potomac Park early in the afternoon.

-- Washington Post, Nov. 16, 1918

November 1918. Washington, D.C. "Bolling Field -- Handley Page on polo grounds." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Not much left

At least in the RAF Museums in England, I do not know what, if any still exists over in the States.
Both museums are well worth a vist if anyone is over on this side of the pond.

The Bloody Paralyser

It's easy to lose sight of just how big a machine the O/400 was. A wing span of over a hundred feet and a crew of 4 was a substantial achievement - and to carry a bomb load of 2,000 pounds was staggering.

They didn't last long in US service, the US-designed Martins and Keystones took over soon enough, but it's easy to see why the crowd came to Bolling Field to see it.

Flight jackets

I'd love to get one of those vintage flight jackets. I love my A-2 jacket made by Cooper. I'll have to see if flight jackets from that era are available anywhere.

I think this is the Handley Page O/400. I noticed the post said the aircraft was "driven" instead of "flown" or "piloted". Perhaps that was the correct term, in view of the O/400's performance numbers as shown below:

Maximum speed: 97.5 mph (84.7 kn, 157 km/h)
Range: 608 nmi (700 mi, 1,120 km)
Service ceiling: 8,500 ft (2,600 m)
Rate of climb: 23 min to 5,000 ft
Endurance: 8 hours

A Vickers bomber made the first nonstop Atlantic crossing.

Just a year later from Newfoundland to Connemara in Ireland.

The pilots were John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown. Both had been allied pilots in WW1.

Clear!!! CONTACT!!!

In 1918 did they have starters on aeroplanes? Or to rephrase the question; how do you crank over those propellers that are 15 feet in the air?
Great photo detail, love the oil can.


It has American right-turning engines.

Britain does everything backwards.

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