We hope you enjoyed answering the Canadian Aviation Moments in January. We encourage readers to send in their responses to the Canadian Aviation Moments questions at: Your responses will be included in the following month's newsletter. Here are the correct answers:

Question: What WW II British aircraft was referred to as “The Flying Panhandle”, “The Flying  Tadpole”, or “The Flying Suitcase”?

Robert Nash, from Winnipeg MB,  sends this answer:

1. "The Handley Page Hampden, a twin-engined medium bomber, made its maiden flight in 1936, and was fully operational only by 1939. It had a cramped interior, and its shape led to it being dubbed the 'Flying Panhandle'." Taylor James and Davidson, Martin. Bomber Crew. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2004.

2. "Handley Page's H.P.52 (later named Hampden) was to share with the Wellington and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley the major portion of Bomber Command's early raids over Germany in World War II. Unorthodox in appearance because of its deep fuselage and slender tailboom, it was to earn the nicknames 'Flying Panhandle' and 'Tadpole'." Source.

3. "The Hampden had a short, narrow but tall main fuselage with a very slender tail unit. This configuration led to the nicknames 'Flying Panhandle' and 'Flying Suitcase'." Source.

Laurie Miller sends this answer: "What WW II British aircraft was referred to as 'The Flying Panhandle,'" etc.? Why, the Handley Page Hampden, of course!

Weird-looking, but apparently not unpleasant to fly. If, that is, you didn't mind sitting out the whole flight in one place, because the fuselage was only three feet wide, on the outside! Crew members had no way of changing places, and if the pilot were to become incapacitated, well...

Victory Aircraft (or Canadian Associated Aircraft) built a number of them at Malton, Ontario, I believe. The RCAF used the Hampden, particularly on west coast patrol.

Answer: “The Hampden was “terrible to fly in, cramped, no heat, no facilities where you could relieve yourself… but a joy to fly.” Sleek and manoeuvrable, the “Flying Panhandle”, “The Flying Tadpole”, or “Flying Suitcase” had a distinctive, deep fuselage, which gracefully tapered to a slender tail boom. However, this unorthodox construction guaranteed early obsolescence because there was no room in the fuselage for future development. The Hampden entered service in 1938 and although it could carry 4000 pounds of bombs and had defensive "e" guns in dorsal, ventral, and frontal positions, these weapons were very light and limited in their traversing capability. With its two 1000-horsepower Bristol Pegasus engines at full throttle, the Hampden could charge along at a respectable 265 mph.”

Source: No Prouder Place – Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience 1939-1945 – Page 22

Question: What was the paper strength of the RAF Bomber Command on Aug 31, 1939? What was its effective strength 3 days later? 

Answer: “On 31 August 1939 Bomber Command had a paper strength of 55 squadrons and 920 aircraft, but three days later, its effective strength had plummeted to 25 squadrons and 352 aircraft. They were clustered in four groups, each flying a single type: Bristol Blenheims, Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys, Vickers Wellingtons and Handley Page Hampdens, all twin-engine monoplanes. This extremely rapid force reduction occurred because ten squadrons equipped with 160 obsolete single-engine Fairey Battles were deployed to France as the Advanced Air Striking Forces (AASF) on 2 September, only to be decimated in combat the following spring. Also, two Blenheim squadrons from 2 Group were assigned to the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) as part of its air component and one of the Whitley squadrons was not yet operationally ready. Seventeen of the remaining squadrons could not be mobilized, since they had been saddled with training mandates on the outbreak of hostilities.”                                             

Source: No Prouder Place – Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience 1939-1945 – Page 21

Question: What airplane represents the first experiment in aviation by the Canadian military?

Answer: “After 300 flights, the Silver Dart and an improved version known as the Baddeck No. 1 were demonstrated to the Canadian Army. Ultimately the Silver Dart crashed and was written off while under trial. While not selected for service, the Silver Dart represents the first experiment in aviation by the Canadian military.” Note: The Silver Dart was taken on strength and struck off strength in 1909.

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Page 261

The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS.

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions for February are:

Question: The Vickers Wellington bomber was affectionately named the "Wimpy". What comic strip character was the bomber named after?

Source: No Prouder Place, by David L. Bashow, Page 23

Question: What was the total number of personnel in the RCAF at the beginning of WWII and at the end of WWII? What was the authorized strength after WWII and how long did it take to reach that strength?

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft, by T. F. J. Leversedge, Page 32

Question: There was only one Canadian squadron named after a person. Which squadron was it and who was it named after?

Source: No Prouder Place, by David L. Bashow, Page 84