Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

This photograph looks like a shot from a sci-fi movie:

Just a few seconds - and the aircraft will change its shape to emerge as a giant robot... But what we see is a bomber, not a transformer.

First flown in prototype form in mid-1930, the Handley-Page HP.50 Heyford was the last of the RAF's long-range biplane night bombers. It was powered in Mk I form by two 391.2kW Rolls-Royce Kestrel III engines and in the Mk II and Mk III by 428.5kW Kestrel VI.

Handley Page HP.50 HeyfordThe Heyford was an equal-span biplane with staggered wings: the upper wing centre-section rested on top of the fuselage, while the lower was positioned well below the fuselage, connected to the under-fuselage by N-type struts.

Handley Page HP.50 HeyfordThe inner interplane struts supported the engine mountings. An interesting feature of the design was that bombs of various sizes were carried inside the thickened centre-section of the lower wing, each bomb being carried in a separate cell closed by spring doors. The fixed landing gear comprised two large wheels faired into the lower wing.

Handley Page HP.50 HeyfordCarrying 1580 kg of bombs and three 7.7mm machine-guns as defensive armament, the Heyford could operate at high altitudes (21,000 ft/6400 mm). Its top speed was mediocre - 142 mph (229 km/h), but the range was satisfactory by the early-1930s standards, 920 miles (1480 km).

Handley Page HP.50 HeyfordA total of 124 Heyfords were built, made up of 38 Mk I and IA, 1 intermediate Mk IA/II, 16 Mk II and 71 Mk Ill - these figures being adjusted to take into account changes made from the original production orders. Heyfords served with heavy-bomber squadrons from 1933 to 1939, giving way to more modern monoplanes of World War II-type.

See it in flying:

Handley Page HP.50 HeyfordHandley Page HP.50 HeyfordHandley Page HP.50 HeyfordThere's a short video, too:

Source: Virtual Aircraft Museum

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