April 4, 2017

Howard Hughes & the "Spruce Goose" ~ November 2, 1947

H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose"


Howard Hughes formed the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932, 85 years ago. He spent the rest of the 1930s setting multiple world air speed records and building the Hughes H-1 Racer and the H-4 Hercules (also known as the "Spruce Goose"; registration NX37602). Made out of wood, it is the largest flying boat ever made. 

The Hughes H-4 Hercules is a prototype strategic airlift flying boat intended as a transatlantic flight transport for use during World War II, it was not completed in time to be used in the war. The aircraft made only one brief flight on November 2, 1947, and the project never advanced beyond the single example produced.   

Rearward view of the Hercules H-4's fuselage
photographer unknown 

H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" 
photographer unknown 

H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" 
photographer unknown

Hughes acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines and later acquired Air West, renaming it Hughes Airwest. Hughes was included in Flying Magazine's list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation, ranked at No. 25.

Hughes climbs into the cockpit of his Northrop Gamma H-1 plane 
photographer unknown 


Howard Hughes standing in front of the Boeing Army Pursuit Plane (Boeing 100A) in Inglewood, California in the 1940s. The black "halo" is intended to make the head stand out better. (Not uncommon at the time for photos intended to be reproduced via low resolution newsprint wire photos). The photo is from the Library of Congress, specifically reproduction # LC-USZ62-63333.

reproduction # LC-USZ62-63333

"I want to be remembered for only one thing – 
my contribution to aviation. "
                                  ~ Howard Hughes

Net links:        
Howard Hughes Viewfinder articles     
footage of the 1947 "Spruce Goose" flight on YouTube      
Howard Hughes on YouTube              

Styrous® ~ Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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