The Yellow Peril made of Ash wood

An artist's impression of the Yellow Peril created by Handley Page. Photo: David Martin

An artist's impression of the Yellow Peril created by Handley Page. Photo: David Martin - Credit: Archant

Handley Page, based at Barking, was the first private company formed for the specific purpose of aeronautical engineering.

They designed a tandem two-seat monoplane and used Fairlop as a flying ground from April 1911 until the company moved to Cricklewood.

On the 26th Edward Petre flew the Type E HP5 for several hops. Before long he was flying circuits, until he was confident enough to fly six miles across country to the Barking Works and was damaged in landing.

As soon as repairs were completed, Edward Petre’s qualifying flight for a Royal Aero Club Certificate were officially observed at Fairlop on 24 July 1912.

On the 27 July Petre flew the Type E from Fairlop to Brooklands via Rainham and along the River Thames to Kew: this only legal route across London, since flying over built–up areas was prohibited.

His time for this complex passage of 55-mile flight was 50 minutes.

The Type E had a crescent wing, braced to fuselage-mounted pylons and kingposts towards the tips, which were flexible for warping, although ailerons were fitted later.

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The fabric covered Ash fuselage was a shallow, braced girder, tapering to a vertical post at the rear, with a deep fairing below and decking above, built up with formers and stringers.

The tail unit consisted of a long tapered tail plane with semicircular elevators, a fin of low, parallel shape and a tall curved rudder. The central skid, split axle undercarriage embodied spring-loaded struts with rubber cord shock absorbers; a tall springy skid below the rudder post supported the tail.

The pilot flew the aircraft from the front cockpit, protected by a cowl covering the upper half of the engine.

The original grey rubberised fabric was replaced by cellulose nitrate dope and finished in yellow varnish for wings and tail, quickly nicknamed the Yellow Peril.