The turbulent development of the Handley Page Victor

Going supersonic during a test flight and a number of deadly crashes were just some of the events that made development of the Handley Page Victor turbulent. Glenn Sands pays tribute to the men who designed and tested the crescent-winged wonder

A confidential memo was distributed around the Handley Page design team at Cricklewood on June 14, 1945. It was to be of vital importance to the future of that company, and it came from the man who gave the enterprise its name.

A Victor B.1 at the top of a loop
A Victor B.1 at the top of a loop KEC

Sir Frederick Handley Page learned that English Electric had been contracted to build a twin-engined jet bomber. This became the exceptional Canberra. ‘HP’ concluded that a similar requirement would be needed to replace the Avro Lincoln within the next five to six years. Hence the memo, distributed to Godfrey Lee, Frank Radcliffe and Reginald Stafford, requesting they investigate the possibility of manufacturing two types of bomber.

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