The hoped for “bloody paralyser of an aircraft” that is the Handley Page 0/100 continues its development. Since the prototype flew on 18 December, further flights have revealed a number of control problems: ailerons and elevators were effective but heavy, partly due to excessive friction in the control circuit and the rudders were seriously overbalanced.
After minor modifications, the aircraft was flown to RNAS Eastchurch, where full-speed trials were made. On reaching 70 mph (110 km/h), the tail unit began to vibrate and twist violently: the pilot immediately landed and an inspection showed severe damage to the rear fuselage structure but reinforcement failed to cure the problem.
A second prototype was completed in April 1916 and had an open cockpit in a longer nose, with room for a gunner’s position at the end. To save weight, most of the armour plating was deleted. The tail oscillation problem remains an issue.
Nevertheless, today the latest prototype flew to 3000ft in eight and a half minutes with a pilot and 16 passengers – a world record in terms of climbing with load and the number of passengers.