Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sqn Ldr Hedley George Hazelden DFC* 1915-2001

Squadron Leader H G Hazelden Handley Page Chief Test pilot signed Cover to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of the first flight of the Handley Page HP88.

HG Hazelden was born in 1915 and joined the RAF in May 1939. He took his initial flying training in May 1939 and was posted to Redhill in August completing his flying training at 12 FTS on Ansons.After Operational Conversion Training he was posted to 44 Squadron at RAF Waddington where he served in Bomber Command.
In 1941 he converted to the Avro Manchester at Finningley and then served with 83 Squadron at RAF Scampton.In July 1942 after a tour of operations during which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross he became an instructor at the Operational Conversion Unit at Bassingbourne then at Wescott and finally Oakley.
His next posting was to the Test Pilots' School at Boscombe Down where he joined as a student on the first course of the Empire Test PIlots' School.On Completion of this course Hazelden was posted to the Heavy Aircraft Squadron at Boscombe Down and later became the Chief Pilot of the Civil Aircraft Testing School. His particular speciality became the examination of action to be taken in the event of engine failure on take-off. He then became involved generally in the test flying and development of many aircraft which included in 1950 the work on the crescent wing and the basic research carried out by the Blackburn YB2 later to be known as the Handley Page 88 from which the Victor bomber was developed.

On 24 December 1952 Hazelden, then Handley Page's Chief Test Pilot together with TK Bennett as his flight observer flew the prototype HP80 from Boscombe Down on a sortie lasting 17 Minutes. This aircraft was to be later known as the Victor and to become the third of the V-bombers. Sqn Leader Hazelden also completed the maiden flight of the Handley Page Herald and whilst developing this aircraft on Herald G-AODE he had a miraculous escape. The aircraft developed a serious engine fire due to overheating and Hazelden managed to land the aircraft without any further damage.Hazelden had flown in many aircraft types including Tiger Moth, Hart, Master, Mentor, Proctor, Hurricane, Spitfire, Sea Otter, Firefly, Traveller, Reliant, Martin Baker, Anson, Hampden, Hereford, Manchester, Oxford, Wellington, Whitley, Warwick, Beaufort, Albemarle, Mitchell, Beaufighter, Dakota, Viking, Lancaster, Lancastrian, Stirling and Lincoln.