Huge Biplane Airliner May Fly Again

  • Nov 5, 2014 12:29pm GMT

According to, efforts are already in progress by England’s Team Merlin, the group that operated the Vickers Vimy, to assemble a 1930's Handley Page H.P.42 four-engine biplane. The big question is can it be done?

In its heyday, the H.P.42 was considered the Concorde of its time capable of reaching speeds of up to 120mph. Only eight of these aircraft were ever built and none survive today. The folks at Team Merlin are hoping to change that with the support of the public and more intriguingly, Hollywood and the fashion industry.

“Together with over 20 years of research to find the necessary technical information for the build, the team have also arranged the entire infrastructure for the project from websites to hangarage, and pilots to paperwork, not to mention a builder for the project who has worked on hundreds of historic aircraft around the world,” Team Merlin official, Neil Farley said in an email. “They will also be very shortly opening the world’s first Imperial Airways museum, situated in Wiltshire, to act as a main base for people to come and get involved with the project all year round. Ground exhibitions around the airshow circuit in the UK and overseas, as well as an educational programme to aim at new pilots and mechanics, is also planned, even prior to the aircraft flying.”

“The airliner is a replica as there are no major pieces of original airframe in existence, and we are giving a rough estimate of two-to-three years for the build but this timeframe can change depending on how much money we have to throw at the project. Main construction has not yet started although several test pieces have been made by one company to check their machining. Due to the size of the airliner, it would take a long time if everything were to be made on one site, and indeed some larger castings need specialist manufacturers to produce as well, so there are several sites for production, and also a couple of sites for assembly due to its size,” Farley said.

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