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Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Discussions on the Cold War era (1946-1991).

Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby charlese87 on 15 Nov 2012 11:14

At a Bomber Command station the question was asked of the AEO - and how would you get out the Victor? Through the hole made by the pilot.
The Victor was a superb aircraft and transonic in a dive. The main drawback was the production technique used by Handley Page manufacturing each aircraft on an individual basis. This meant each aircraft was different as was found by Hawker Siddeley in 1974 when they converted the aircraft to tankers. Though it had its problems it was a superb Blue Steel carrier. More impressive was it dropping 21, 1000lb bombs. We tend to forget part of its load was to carry the Tallboy heavy bomb a major story but an interesting one. The definitive book on the Victor deployment and design is called, RAF NUCLEAR DETERRENT FORCES by Humphry Wynn, HMSO. How can I convey the excitement of the Conways or Saphires starting up in one of those machines an astonishing experience.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby Dunash on 18 Nov 2012 22:43

The Victor had a massive bomb bay capable of holding 48 x 1000lb bombs, though in service the maximum was limited to 35. The Vulcan could only accommodate a maximum of 21.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby ChristopherPerrien on 19 Nov 2012 09:30

phylo_roadking wrote:Er, yes exactly; it had a longer service life in total as the Vulcan....and lasted in service longer. The last Victor was retired in 1993, that's a 35-year service life for the type, while the Vulcan's service life ended nearly a decade earlier in the mid-'80s, after 28 years.


Anyway - both types had much longer careers than their US equivalent when designed, the B-47.... :wink: Now THAT was a failure...an aircraft to more than rival the Victor's fatigue problems! :D


Sorry no , the Victor looked like a big flying lemon and it was. Only 86 were made and during its " operational life", about 15 of those crashed and killed just about everybody on board. It dam sure needed an escape capsule. And mistakenly disparaging the B-47( of which 1000's were built and was a beautiful well flying aircraft with an excellent service record) won't cut it or make that butt-ugly/mediocore Victor a good airplane. The B47 was a good airplane replaced by a better airplane,The B52.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Victor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-47_Stratojet

As to its long service life, you might as well be talking of converted "ships of the line" turned into prison hulks :) . Just because a piece of military equipment stays around in some defunct function, does not make it "great" or even laudable as to its former purpose.. The Victor was taken out of front line service about 10 years after introduction, and made into tanker aircraft. In that case basically, a lemon replaced a lemon , the Victor for the Valiant.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby phylo_roadking on 19 Nov 2012 17:23

Christopher...

Only 86 were made and during its " operational life", about 15 of those crashed and killed just about everybody on board. It dam sure needed an escape capsule. And mistakenly disparaging the B-47( of which 1000's were built and was a beautiful well flying aircraft with an excellent service record) won't cut it or make that butt-ugly/mediocore Victor a good airplane. The B47 was a good airplane replaced by a better airplane,The B52.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Victor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-47_Stratojet


...there was a suspiciously small number of B-47 accidents and crashes mentioned in that Wiki article, so I went searching - try THIS! http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/Airc ... e/B-47.htm

8O The situation is NOT as rosy as that Wiki article on the B-47 would make things seem...there's a hell of a lot more crashes and fatalities mentioned in that list.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby Dunserving on 19 Nov 2012 21:37

For some reality about the V-force aircraft, try:

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history- ... rious.html

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history- ... erged.html

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history- ... mbers.html

http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/ ... ictor.html

http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/ ... liant.html

The disadvantage of those links, for some readers, will be that many of the posts are by people who actually flew the things and know what they are talking about.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby Dunash on 19 Nov 2012 22:15

Dunserving wrote:For some reality about the V-force aircraft, try:

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history- ... rious.html

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history- ... erged.html

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history- ... mbers.html

http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/ ... ictor.html

http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/ ... liant.html

The disadvantage of those links, for some readers, will be that many of the posts are by people who actually flew the things and know what they are talking about.


Thanks for those links, some interesting stuff there.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby Dunserving on 20 Nov 2012 15:55

It should be remembered that at the time the Victor was first being flown the RAF was losing about 500 aircraft a year and about 300 aircrew fatalities. Despite many of those being sat on ejector seats. There was a clear expectation that in the event of Victors being shot down in action it was highly likely that nobody would make it to the ground alive anyway.

It is true that it had a short service life as a bomber, but doesn't that reflect the end of a need for nuclear armed bombers rather than the aircraft itself not being up to the task? In one respect at least it was very much better than both the B47 and the B52 - it never "lost" a nuclear weapon.... Either while in the air or in an accident on the ground.

So "only 86 were made"? So what? We didn't need thousands of the things did we? It is a very different aircraft, not the least because it was designed to be able to carry conventional bombs from WW2, and it didn't have to go very far to do its job. The most likely target was only 1,500 miles away. It proved to be a very capable aircraft that was not held in contempt by those who flew them and knew what they were talking about.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby phylo_roadking on 20 Nov 2012 16:34

It should be remembered that at the time the Victor was first being flown the RAF was losing about 500 aircraft a year and about 300 aircrew fatalities.


...not forgetting that those numbers and any averages from them were prejudiced by the majority of them being Gloster Meteors! Not called the "meatbox" for a good reason... 8O
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby Dunserving on 20 Nov 2012 21:20

You are quite right about the nickname, and the reason for it - but the majority of Meteors at that time were fitted with Martin Baker bang seats and pilots still died.

Having ejector seats did not guarantee survival, and not having them in the V-force for back seaters didn't do all that much to increase the risk of death. Having seats in the B52 did not save three of the seven crew members in the Palomares nuclear accident......

This sentence " Just because a piece of military equipment stays around in some defunct function, ...." would be seen by any fast jet pilot as being idiotic in the extreme. Where would they have been without in-flight refuelling? To say nothing of the Black Buck attacks...
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby phylo_roadking on 20 Nov 2012 22:47

but the majority of Meteors at that time were fitted with Martin Baker bang seats and pilots still died.


Yep, but there are questions over whether ejector seats may have actually contributed to that! 8O The Meteor's cockpit was the absolute worst of those "ergonomic slums" that Bill Waterson encountered during his test flight career...with various nasty projections that prevented a clean ejection without doing major damage to the poor pilot!

Also - among the troubles that plagued the Meteor was an unpredictable and unrecoverable and fast low-level "bunt", that put the Meteor nose-first into the ground I.E. a profile where ejecting wasn't practical :(
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby ChristopherPerrien on 21 Nov 2012 13:41

Dunserving wrote:It should be remembered that at the time the Victor was first being flown the RAF was losing about 500 aircraft a year and about 300 aircrew fatalities. Despite many of those being sat on ejector seats. There was a clear expectation that in the event of Victors being shot down in action it was highly likely that nobody would make it to the ground alive anyway.

It is true that it had a short service life as a bomber, but doesn't that reflect the end of a need for nuclear armed bombers rather than the aircraft itself not being up to the task? In one respect at least it was very much better than both the B47 and the B52 - it never "lost" a nuclear weapon.... Either while in the air or in an accident on the ground.

So "only 86 were made"? So what? We didn't need thousands of the things did we? It is a very different aircraft, not the least because it was designed to be able to carry conventional bombs from WW2, and it didn't have to go very far to do its job. The most likely target was only 1,500 miles away. It proved to be a very capable aircraft that was not held in contempt by those who flew them and knew what they were talking about.



Gee whiz , Gnomes slapping Gnomes on the back :lol:

Y'all, of course, realize that B52's are still keeping your Isle of Albion safe from the menacing Russian Hordes :lol:

I digress and I of course realized that the B47 has a loss record far in excess of the few mentioned on wikipedia, I figure at least 200 were lost. It is hard to find or figure out loss ratios. However about 10 were lost on ACTUAL combat missions(covert recon) and many more were fired upon and made it back. I myself was surprise at how many made it back from recon missions over the the USSR and North Korea.

The B47 soldiered on far longer as a bomber/tanker/recon/experimental aircraft than the Victor did and the B47 was the first true strategic nuclear bomber ever designed or built. Its service record dwarfs the Victor in all fields.

As to the Victor , yes they never lost a nuke bomb. Did they ever actually carry them? Could they do they do a immelman turn /fling bomb maneuver(loft boming) like the B47???. I imagine that was a GD fun thing to practice in either big bomber.I figure most Victor crew would go "Are you bloody serious?"

As to numbers, yea, 86-15, but in the realm of reliability and triple redundancy in the realm of nuclear capable systems, were any of these these Victors ever constantly flying at "fail-safe" or "ready for launch"?

And with 86 built -15, most offline at any given time, how many could have flown a mission if require against the USSR ? 5?10? What chance would they have had against USSR ADA?

Yes, you an always find a few people that actually like any given piece of "military equipment", (I liked and still like the M3A1 Grease gun, and you can fit 11 comrades in an M60A3 turret, drinking beer in the Winter in Germany during the Cold War and peeing in the driver 's hold :milwink: ), but the cold hard realities of combat and the methods of nuclear combat back in the 50's and 60's lead me to believe that the Victor would have come up short if it was ever actually needed at the time.

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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby Dunserving on 21 Nov 2012 16:11

phylo_roadking wrote:
but the majority of Meteors at that time were fitted with Martin Baker bang seats and pilots still died.


Yep, but there are questions over whether ejector seats may have actually contributed to that! 8O The Meteor's cockpit was the absolute worst of those "ergonomic slums" that Bill Waterson encountered during his test flight career...with various nasty projections that prevented a clean ejection without doing major damage to the poor pilot!

Also - among the troubles that plagued the Meteor was an unpredictable and unrecoverable and fast low-level "bunt", that put the Meteor nose-first into the ground I.E. a profile where ejecting wasn't practical :(



Absolutely! But at least the "Phantom Dive" phenomenon was learned about and could be avoided. The hazards of assymetric thrust remained a potential killer. I agree with you completely about the cockpit design. A very short relative of mine flew in the two seat night fighter version, being selected because of his height. Appparently anyone over 5 foot 8 inches would lose theor lower legs on the instrument panel if they used the ejector seat....

Layout was a real problem, with I believe, the ease with which speedbrake and flaps lever could be confused being a real killer for the unwary of inexperienced pilot.
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Re: Handley Page Victor bomber aircraft

Postby Dunserving on 21 Nov 2012 16:40

ChristopherPerrien wrote:
Dunserving wrote:It should be remembered that at the time the Victor was first being flown the RAF was losing about 500 aircraft a year and about 300 aircrew fatalities. Despite many of those being sat on ejector seats. There was a clear expectation that in the event of Victors being shot down in action it was highly likely that nobody would make it to the ground alive anyway.

It is true that it had a short service life as a bomber, but doesn't that reflect the end of a need for nuclear armed bombers rather than the aircraft itself not being up to the task? In one respect at least it was very much better than both the B47 and the B52 - it never "lost" a nuclear weapon.... Either while in the air or in an accident on the ground.

So "only 86 were made"? So what? We didn't need thousands of the things did we? It is a very different aircraft, not the least because it was designed to be able to carry conventional bombs from WW2, and it didn't have to go very far to do its job. The most likely target was only 1,500 miles away. It proved to be a very capable aircraft that was not held in contempt by those who flew them and knew what they were talking about.



Gee whiz , Gnomes slapping Gnomes on the back :lol:

Y'all, of course, realize that B52's are still keeping your Isle of Albion safe from the menacing Russian Hordes :lol:

I digress and I of course realized that the B47 has a loss record far in excess of the few mentioned on wikipedia, I figure at least 200 were lost. It is hard to find or figure out loss ratios. However about 10 were lost on ACTUAL combat missions(covert recon) and many more were fired upon and made it back. I myself was surprise at how many made it back from recon missions over the the USSR and North Korea.

The B47 soldiered on far longer as a bomber/tanker/recon/experimental aircraft than the Victor did and the B47 was the first true strategic nuclear bomber ever designed or built. Its service record dwarfs the Victor in all fields.

As to the Victor , yes they never lost a nuke bomb. Did they ever actually carry them? Could they do they do a immelman turn /fling bomb maneuver(loft boming) like the B47???. I imagine that was a GD fun thing to practice in either big bomber.I figure most Victor crew would go "Are you bloody serious?"

As to numbers, yea, 86-15, but in the realm of reliability and triple redundancy in the realm of nuclear capable systems, were any of these these Victors ever constantly flying at "fail-safe" or "ready for launch"?

And with 86 built -15, most offline at any given time, how many could have flown a mission if require against the USSR ? 5?10? What chance would they have had against USSR ADA?

Yes, you an always find a few people that actually like any given piece of "military equipment", (I liked and still like the M3A1 Grease gun, and you can fit 11 comrades in an M60A3 turret, drinking beer in the Winter in Germany during the Cold War and peeing in the driver 's hold :milwink: ), but the cold hard realities of combat and the methods of nuclear combat back in the 50's and 60's lead me to believe that the Victor would have come up short if it was ever actually needed at the time.

Sorry if I sound like Major Kong

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CRRVZqrRl0



Well, if you've got B-52's keeping us safe.... Perhaps they could keep Europe even safer by clearing off to Spain and collecting many thousands of tons of plutonium contaminated soil from the Palomares area and taking it back to the USA? Feel free to return the soil after yu've removed your plutonium.... :D

Did our aircraft ever actually carry live nuclear weapons? Rarely, as they were only to be hung on aircraft in times of crisis. They did however routinely operate carrying training rounds that were complete in every respect apart from not having the explosive component... They never "lost" any of those either.

Ready for launch? Certainly. When necessary ready for immediate take off. Lots of airfields had Operational Readyness Platforms. Aircraft at the end of the runway ready to be airborn in a couple of minutes from the command to go.

Your comment about there only being 86 Victors (plus of course a comparable number of Vulcans) is quite right, as is the point that not all would be serviceable at the same time. But so what? It isn't relevant.

For a nuclear armed bomber to go off on an attack, there is a very real priority - it must have a nuclear weapon on board. The theoretical plan for crews was to pop over to the Soviet Union, drop the bucket of instant sunshine and pop back home. Refuel and rearm and go back again. The reality as all the crews knew, was that there was a chance that they would not even reach the target, and that if they did they might not have the fuel to get back. And even if they did get back, the UK would by then be made of glass and glowing in the dark. And even if it wasn't, there would not be any bombs available for a second mission. Why? My understanding is that we had more aircraft than bombs....... We were not in the game then of having enough nuclear capacity to wipe out the planet, we left that to others.

You are right to say that you can always find a few people that like a particular piece of military equipment, and that is indeed true of all the V-force bombers. However, there is a marked lack of aircrew that flew the things that have anything bad to say about them............ ......and there are a few that have commented about the hazards of the Meatbox!

This figure may be wrong, but I think the total losses in accidents and crashes for all the V-force aircraft was 43 out of 345 built. About 1 in 7. A bit worse than the B-47, which based on your figures must have been around 1 in 9?
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