Hawker Hector


Hawker Hector.jpg
Role Army co-operation
Manufacturer Hawker Aircraft
First flight 14 February 1936
Status retired
Primary users Royal Air Force
Irish Air Corps
Number built 179
Developed from Hawker Hart

The Hawker Hector was a British biplane army co-operation and liaison aircraft of the late 1930s; it served with the Royal Air Force and saw brief combat in the Battle of France in May 1940. Some Hectors were later sold to Ireland. It was named after the Trojan prince Hector.

Design and development

The Hector was intended as a replacement for the Hawker Audax army co-operation aircraft. The design and the building of the prototype was done by Hawker but production aircraft were built by Westland Aircraft in Yeovil, Somerset. Because of the demand for Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines required for the Hawker Hind programme, an alternative power plant was specified. Consequently, the 24 cylinder 805 hp (600 kW) Napier Dagger III was used. The prototype first flew on 14 February 1936 with George Bulman as pilot. One prototype and 178 production aircraft were built.

Operational service

Starting in February 1937, the Hector began equipping the seven RAF army co-operation squadrons that would use it, but it in turn began to be replaced by Westland Lysanders beginning in July 1938[1] The Hectors were transferred to Auxiliary Air Force squadrons. 613 Squadron was converting to Lysanders at RAF Hawkinge and flew in support of the Allied garrison in the Siege of Calais.[2] On 26 May, along with its Lysanders, six Hectors dive bombed German positions around Calais and on the following day, tried to drop supplies to the troops, unaware that they had already surrendered; two Hectors were lost.[2] Hectors were used by the RAF from 1940 as target-tugs, and for towing General Aircraft Hotspur training gliders.

The Irish Air Corps received 13 examples after the Dunkirk Evacuation in 1941–42 and in general were in poor condition. They were sold by the British War Office to Ireland upon requests for aircraft as the Irish military found themselves wholly unprepared for modern warfare but still relied almost completely on Britain for military supplies. The defence of Ireland was in the British interest but while they were fighting the Battle of Britain, they could not afford to sell the Irish Government anything better than the Hector. The type was deeply unpopular with ground crews due to the complicated and unreliable Dagger engine, whose tightly packed high revving 24 cylinders made access difficult.


  • Hector Mk I : Two-seat army co-operation aircraft for the RAF.


 United Kingdom

Specifications (Hector)

Data from Hawker Aircraft since 1920 [4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 29 ft 9.75 in (9.0869 m)
  • Upper wingspan: 36 ft 11.5 in (11.265 m) * Upper chord: 72 in (1.83 m)
  • Upper wing sweep:
  • Lower wingspan: 31 ft 4 in (9.55 m) * Lower chord: 60 in (1.52 m)
  • Lower wing sweep:
  • Height: 10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)
  • Wing area: 346 sq ft (32.1 m2) [5]
  • Empty weight: 3,389 lb (1,537 kg)
  • Gross weight: 4,910 lb (2,227 kg)
  • Undercarriage track: 76 in (1.93 m)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Napier Dagger III 24-cylinder air-cooled H-block engine, 805 hp (600 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed pitch wooden propeller


  • Maximum speed: 187 mph (301 km/h, 162 kn) at 6,600 ft (2,000 m)
  • Stall speed: 50 mph (80 km/h, 44 kn) [6]
  • Range: 300 mi (480 km, 261 nmi) [5]
  • Service ceiling: 24,000 ft (7,300 m)
  • Time to altitude: ** 5 minutes 40 seconds to 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
  • Wing loading: 14.2 lb/sq ft (69 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.17 hp/lb (0.28 kW/kg)


  • Guns: ** 1 × forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun Mk.V
    • 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun in the rear cockpit on a Hawker mount
  • Bombs: Mountings for a camera, flares, and 2 × 112 lb (51 kg) bombs (or containers)

Surviving aircraft

In 1996, an ex-Irish Air Corps Hector 88 (ex RAF K8130) was recovered for eventual restoration from near Dundrum in Ireland.[7]

Parts of Hector K8096 remain on Red Pike in the English Lake District. The aircraft crashed on 8 September 1941, killing its pilot.[8]

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ Jackson, 2006, p.61
  2. ^ a b Thetford, 1962, p.304
  3. ^ Halley 1980, p. 352.
  4. ^ Mason 1991, p.265–266.
  5. ^ a b Mason 1994, p.281
  6. ^ ATA Ferry Pilots Notes 1996
  7. ^ Simpson, 2013
  8. ^ "Hector K8096 on Red Pike, Wasdale". Aircraft accidents in the English Lake District. Yorkshire Aircraft. Archived from the original on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2015.


  • Air Transport Auxiliary Ferry Pilots Notes (reproduction). Elvington, York, UK: Yorkshire Air Museum, 1996. ISBN 0-9512379-8-5.
  • Crawford, Alex. Hawker Hart Family. Redbourn, Hertfordshire, UK: Mushroom Model Publications Ltd., 2008. ISBN 83-89450-62-3.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians), 1980. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  • Jackson, Robert (2006). Army Wings: A History of Army Air Observation Flying 1914–1960. Pen & Sword Books. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-84415-380-0.
  • Mason, Francis K. Hawker Aircraft since 1920. London: Putnam, 1961 (Third revised Edition 1991). ISBN 0-85177-839-9.
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam. 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
  • Simpson, Andrew (2013). "A/C Serial No. BAPC82 Section 2B Individual History Hawker Hind (Afghan) BAPC 82 Museum Accession No.69/A/104" (PDF). Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  • Thetford, Owen Gordon (1962). Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918. Putnam. p. 304. OCLC 816338199.