Fairey Hendon

A Fairey Hendon flies over.
Role Heavy night bomber
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Fairey Aviation
First flight 25 November 1930
Introduction 1936
Retired January 1939
Primary user Royal Air Force
Produced 1936–1937
Number built 15

The Fairey Hendon was a British monoplane heavy bomber of the Royal Air Force designed by Fairey Aviation in the late 1920s, which served in small numbers with one Squadron of the RAF between 1936 and 1939. It was the first all-metal low-wing monoplane to enter service with the RAF.[1]


The Hendon was built to meet the Air Ministry Specification B.19/27 for a twin-engine night bomber to replace the Vickers Virginia, competing against the Handley Page Heyford and Vickers Type 150. The specification required a range of 920 mi (1,480 km) at a speed of 115 mph (185 km/h), with a bombload of 1,500 lb (680 kg).[2] To meet this requirement, Fairey designed a low-winged cantilever monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage. The fuselage had a steel tube structure with fabric covering with a pilot, a radio operator/navigator and three gunners, in open nose, dorsal and tail positions. Bombs were carried in a bomb bay in the fuselage centre. Variants powered by either radial engines or liquid-cooled V12 engines were proposed.[3][4]

The prototype K1695 with two Rolls-Royce Kestrel 600 HP engines.

The prototype K1695 (which was known as the Fairey Night Bomber until 1934) first flew on 25 November 1930, from Fairey's Great West Aerodrome in Heathrow and was powered by two 460 hp (340 kW) Bristol Jupiter VIII radial engines.[1][5][6] The prototype crashed and was heavily damaged in March 1931 and was rebuilt with two Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI engines. After trials, 14 production examples named the Hendon Mk.II were ordered. These were built by Fairey's Stockport factory in late 1936 and early 1937 and flown from Manchester's Barton Aerodrome. Orders for a further 60 Hendons were cancelled in 1936, as the prototype of the first of the next generation of British heavy bombers—the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley—had flown and showed much higher performance.[7] The Hendon Mk.II was powered by two Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI engines. The production Hendon Mk.II included an enclosed cockpit for the pilot and navigator.

Operational history

A Fairey Hendon of no. 38 Squadron

The type was delayed by the crash and a rebuild of the prototype and the Heyford received the majority of the orders needed to replace RAF heavy bombers, the Hendon coming into service three years later. The only Hendon-equipped unit, 38 Squadron, began operational service at RAF Mildenhall in November 1936, replacing Heyfords, later moving to RAF Marham, Norfolk.[7] Later, the Hendons went to No. 115 Squadron RAF, which was formed from 38 Squadron. The type was soon obsolete and replaced from late 1938 by the Vickers Wellington. By January 1939, the Hendons had been retired and were then used for ground instruction work, including the radio school at RAF Cranwell.[8]


Hendon Mk.I
Prototype, one built
Hendon Mk.II
Production variant with two Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI engines, 14 built


Accidents and incidents

Of the 14 Hendon IIs only two were lost in accidents:

Specifications (Hendon II)

Data from The British Bomber since 1914;[7] Fairey Aircraft since 1915[8]

General characteristics



See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fairey Hendon.
  1. 1 2 Taylor 1974, p. 208.
  2. Taylor 1974, p. 209.
  3. Taylor 1974, pp. 209–210.
  4. Mason 1994, pp. 215–216.
  5. Mason 1994, p.216.
  6. Gallop 2005, p.19
  7. 1 2 3 Mason 1994, p. 217.
  8. 1 2 Taylor 1974, p. 216.
  9. 1 2 3 Thetford 1957, p. 213.
  • Crosby, Francis. The World Encyclopedia of Fighters and Bombers. London: Lorenz Books ISBN 0-7548-1616-8
  • Gallop, Alan. Time Flies: Heathrow At 60. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-7509-3840-4
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5
  • Taylor, H.A. Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-00065-X
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Airforce, 1918–1957. London: Putnam, 1957.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 5/2/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.