A contemporary of the BAe 748 and Fokker F-27 Friendship, the Handley Page Herald was an unsuccessful attempt at providing a replacement for the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3.
The Herald was designed by Handley Page's Reading facility, which was formerly the Miles Aircraft Company. Bearing a superficial resemblance to the smaller and older Miles Marathon, the Herald originally was powered by four 650kW (870hp) Alvis Leonides Major radial piston engines.
Handley Page optimised the Herald design for operations from underdeveloped airfields with operators which it thought would prefer piston rather than turbine power. The first Herald prototype flew on August 25 1955, a second flew on August 3 1956.
However, by this time the Vickers Viscount had proven the reliability and economical operation of turboprops and consequently Handley Page made the decision to switch to turboprops in May 1957. Both of the original piston powered prototypes were converted with two RollsRoyce Darts in place of the four Alvis Leonides Majors. The first flight of a Herald in the new configuration occurred on March 11 1958. The first Series 100 production Herald flew for the first time on October 30 1959.
Only four Series 100s were built before production switched to the larger capacity and stretched (by 1.09m/3ft 7in) Series 200 in late 1961. The prototype 200 flew for the first time on April 8 1961 and it became the major production model. The only other Herald derivative built was the Series 400, a military version of the 200 for Malaysia, which took delivery of eight.
The Herald failed to attract any significant sales success, its poor sales further contributing to the decline of Handley Page. Herald production ceased in August 1968, while Handley Page collapsed in late 1969.
In 1998 Channel Express in the UK operated the last Herald in service. Registered G-BEYF, it was retired in March 1999.
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