Howard Hughes' giant Flying Boat - Popularlycalled the Spruce Goose
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Howard Hughes' giantFlying Boat is now on display at the Evergreen AviationMuseum.
During world War 2, a consortium was formed by Howard Hughesand Henry Kaiser to create a giant, wooden, flying boattransport. The airplane was designated HK-1 for the Hughes-Kaiserconsortium. After Henry Kaiser left the project the designationof the wooden aircraft was changed to H-4. Later, a contestheld among Hughes Aircraft employees produced the nameHercules. Hughes did not like the name Hercules, nor did heappreciate the phrase Spruce Goose. He always referred to theairplane as the Flying Boat.
The wooden buildings in which its components were constructedwere the largest in the world at the time. They still stand atthe old Hughes Airport property.
Most of the wood used in the construction of the Flying Boatwas Birch. The nails used to hold its wooden components in placewere removed once the glue set.
Considerable controversy surrounded its funding. Thegovernment funded the original project, which called for oneprototype Flying Boat and the production of two additionalaircraft. The original government contract budgeted $18million for three aircraft; however Hughes infused $7 million ofhis own capital into the project. Only one flying boat wascompleted. It was flown once in 1947, then it was returned to itshangar, where it remained for thirty-three years. It wascarefully stored, maintained almost as an active aircraft until1980. Each month its engines were run up. An extensive airconditioning system maintained a carefully controlled environmentfor the wooden behemoth.
The Flying Boat was removed from itshangar on October 29, 1980. For two days it floated in LosAngeles Harbor before it was lifted onto a temporary storage areaon shore. On February 10, 1982 it was lifted from its storagelocation onto a barge. The next morning it was floated across theharbor to a giant geodesic dome to be displayed by the WratherCorporation.
Wingspan: 320 feet
Length: 219 feet
Wing Area: 11,430 square feet
Maximum Take-off Weight: 400,000 pounds
Maximum Cargo Payload: 130,000 pounds
Powerplant: 8x 3,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R4360-4, 28 cylinder radials
The hangar housing Howard Hughes' giant Flying Boat stillstood in July 1980. The airplane had narrowly escaped beingdistributed to nine air museums when Wrather Corporationpurchased it with the intent of creating a tourist attractionadjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor.
The HughesFlying Boat suffered damage when the original hangar flooded inSeptember 1953. This larger hangar was constructed around theFlying Boat.
Watch for this picture to appear in the History Channel production Man, Moment, Machine.
Much of the hangar of the Hughes Flying Boat was removed byOctober 26, 1980 in preparation for floating the airplane out ofthe building. Wrather corporation had ordered that large plastictarps be hung in front of the Flying Boat to obstruct the view ofbay tour boats. Ducting can be seen for the air conditioningsystem that kept the environment of the Flying Boat within anarrow temperature range.
The vertical stabilizer of theHughes Flying Boat can be seen protruding from the partiallydisassembled hangar on the morning of October 29, 1980.
Subsidence resulting from the extraction of petroleum from thearea had lowered the hangar to the point that the floating of theFlying Boat had to be timed to coincide with low tide to allowthe tail to clear the hangar roof.
October 29, 1980, the Hughes FlyingBoat floats out of its hangar for the first time since 1947.
Howard Hughes' Flying Boat emergesfrom its hangar after thirty-three years. This picture will also appear in the History Channel production Man, Moment, Machine.
Since its only flight, the HughesFlying Boat has had R-4360-TSB-3G engines of increased horespowerinstalled, been painted white, and its registration has beenchanged from NX37602 to N37602.
Howard Hughes' Flying Boat floatingin Los Angeles Harbor.
The HK-1 Hercules waits while cranesare moved into place to pick up its cradle from the now floodedhangar.
The Flying Boat continues to waitas one of the cranes breaks through the hangar floor and sinksinto the saturated ground underneath.
This view of the Hughes Flying Boatshows how aerodynamically clean the design of its fuselage was.
Herman the German, a four hundredton capacity crane seized from Germany at the end of World War 2,is on hand to lift the Hughes Flying Boat out of the water andset her onshore to be stored for the next year.
A nervous group confers on the wingof the Hughes Flying Boat at sunset. The plan had not includedleaving the wooden hull in the water overnight.
Sunlight glints from the wings ofthe Hughes Flying Boat on the morning of October 30, 1980. Theflying boat's cradle has been recovered and is suspended fromHerman the German.
The cradle of the Hughes FlyingBoat has been set on the floor of the harbor. The Flying Boat hasbeen floated into place.
Later in the afternoon, as scubadivers are attaching the cradle to the cables of the crane, aLykes Lines cargo ship enters the harbor beyond the Hughes FlyingBoat.
Herman the German lifted the HughesFlying Boat onshore during the night. It is seen here sitting onits cradle on the morning of October 31, 1980. A protective coverwas placed over it, and it waited something over a year for itsnew display location on Pier J to be prepared.
Page 2, The Flying Boat gets a new home:
Go to Page 2 of Flying Boat pictures for the history ofthe Flying Boat from 1982 onward.
Giant Flying Boats
|First Flight||Wing Span||Length||Wing Area||Gross Weight||Engines|
|Saunders Roe Princess|| |
|10 x 3,500 hp Proteus|
|Hughes Flying Boat|| |
|8 x 3,500hp R4360|
|Blohm und Voss BV-238|| |
|6 x BMW 801|
|Martin JRM Mars|| |
|4 x 2,000 hp R3350|
|Blohm und Voss BV-222|| |
|6 x 1,000 hp BMW-Bramo Fafnir 323R|
|Martin PBM Mariner|| |
|2 x 1,700 hp R2800|
|Boeing 314|| |
|4 x 1,200 hp R2600|
|Convair PB2Y Coronado|| |
|4 x 1,000 hp R1830|
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Howard Hughes' giant Flying Boat, the Spruce Goose, floated out of the hangar it resided inside for thirty-three years into Los Angeles Harbor on October 29, 1980. It took two days to pick it up with Herman the German and place it on land for temporary storage. On February 10, 1982, it was lifted onto a barge for transportation to the geodesic dome where it was displayed to the public for eleven years.Put a copy of the Spruce Goose 2020 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.
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Find all about theHoward Hughes giant flying boat at Wikiverse.org.
Link to a page describing the Evergreen Aviation Museum whichis restoring the HughesFlying Boat for display in McMinnville, Oregon.
Barrett Hochaus built a radio-controlled model of Howard Hughes giant Flying Boat, popularly known as the Spruce Goose, with a wing span of nearly ten feet. It is powered by four electric motors. Despite its large size, it wieghs less than seven pounds. It made its maiden flight at the Gilbert Rodeo Grounds on Saturday, January 22, 2011.
Send a message to Brian.
The Hughes H-4 Hercules (commonly known as the Spruce Goose; registration NX37602) is a prototype strategic airlift flying boat designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company.Does Howard Hughes Spruce Goose still exist? ›
From 1947 until his death in 1976, he kept the Spruce Goose prototype ready for flight in an enormous, climate-controlled hangar at a cost of $1 million per year. Today, the Spruce Goose is housed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.What was the largest seaplane ever built? ›
The Spruce Goose still holds the record for the largest seaplane, the largest wooden aircraft, and the largest propeller plane ever built.Did the Spruce Goose actually fly? ›
In 1947 Howard Hughes's H-4 Hercules was the largest, heaviest and most expensive plane ever built. Yet aside from a one-mile test flight at 70ft (20m), the Spruce Goose - as it was nicknamed by critics - never flew.What aircraft will replace the Hercules? ›
“As a result, new C-130J aircraft will be the only option that Defence will progress for government approval under Project Air 7404 Phase 1 in 2023.”Is the RAF getting rid of the Hercules? ›
“The Royal Air Force will retire the BAe146 as planned by 2022 and take the C130 Hercules out of service by 2023.How much does it cost to see the Spruce Goose? ›
$27 to get in, plus $30 for a 15-minute, or $50 for a 45-minute, tour of the flight deck of the Spruce Goose.
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From the accumulated test data, the Navy concluded that with the C-130 Hercules, it would be possible to lift 25,000 pounds of cargo 2,500 miles and land it on a carrier.Does the military still use the C-130? ›
The C-130 operates throughout the U.S. Air Force, serving with Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Pacific Air Forces, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war ...How many paratroopers can a Hercules carry? ›
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Built for $23 million, the Spruce Goose flew only once. Howard Hughes took it out over the harbor in Long Beach, California, on Nov. 2, 1947. The plane flew 70 feet over the water for 26 seconds.What kind of wood was the Spruce Goose made of? ›
I'll bet you didn't know that Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, once the largest plane ever built, is not made of spruce at all. It's made of birch!What plane is bigger than the Spruce Goose? ›
It's really big: The Stratolaunch aircraft is enormous, with a wingspan totaling 385 feet, longer than the wingspan of any other aircraft and greater than the length of an American football field. Its twin fuselages stretch 238 feet.Who got Howard Hughes money when he died? ›
It was nine years later, on April 5th 1976, when Howard Hughes died, and no one could find a will. With his vast fortune up for grabs, a mysterious document surfaced, naming Dummar and the Mormon church as beneficiaries.How much money did Terry Moore get from Howard Hughes? ›
In 1984, a woman named Terry Moore came forth alleging that she and Hughes were married on a yacht in international waters off the coast of Mexico in 1949, and they were never divorced. No proof of the marriage was produced, but the estate paid her $400,000.Did Howard Hughes have an illegitimate child? ›
Hughes married his first wife, Ella Rice, in 1925 and divorced her in 1929. No children resulted from either marriage).Did the Mormons get Howard Hughes money? ›
The document, which became known as the "Mormon Will", was ruled a forgery by a Nevada jury in June 1978. Dummar received no portion of Hughes' estate, but no criminal charges were filed against him or his wife.Who was the first billionaire? ›
John D. Rockefeller became the world's first billionaire by measurable dollars. The Standard Oil Company founder became a billionaire in 1916 and was worth about 2% of the national economy. According to Forbes, the Rockefeller family's wealth stood at $8.4 billion as of 2020.What would be Howard Hughes net worth in today's dollars? ›
Howard Hughes net worth as of November 18, 2022 is $3.41B.Do you tip a seaplane pilot? ›
Don't tip the pilot. Its not a cab ride.
- Helicopter Pilot. Salary range: $51,500-$115,000 per year. ...
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A pilot requires additional train- ing when transitioning to a seaplane. Ground and flight training must be received and logged, and a pilot must pass a class rating practical test prior to initial opera- tions as pilot in command.What do you wear on a seaplane? ›
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR? Dress exactly as you would to be outside the day that you fly. The air is always a bit cooler up at flying altitude so if it's a warm day then it will be more comfortable up high. If you're flying on a cooler day then bring a jacket just in case.How many seats does a seaplane have? ›
Seaplane: There can be a maximum of six people on board or a minimum of three. Each passenger has a window seat. Helicopter: There can be a maximum of three to four people on board and a minimum of two.How much luggage can you take on a seaplane? ›
You can bring up to two (2) baggage items on the seaplane. Each item can be up to 30lbs. These items can include backpacks, purses, and duffel bags. Before boarding the seaplane you will be asked to place your items in containers that are then positioned in the cargo hold of the seaplane.Can float planes land on any lake? ›
Both a floatplane and a seaplane can take off from, and land on, virtually any body of water (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.) However, a floatplane does more than a seaplane.Can you land a seaplane anywhere on the ocean? ›
Although seaplanes can land on private bodies of water, oceans, or even lakes and rivers, if the pilot does not have permission to land there, they cannot do so. Some bodies of water are open and others are closed, so pilots need to check ahead whether or not they can land where they want to.What is the difference between a seaplane and a flying boat? ›
A flying boat is a type of fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a floatplane in that a flying boat's fuselage is purpose-designed for floatation and contains a hull, while floatplanes rely on fuselage-mounted floats for buoyancy.What plane has not been found? ›
|Date||8 March 2014; 8 years, 8 months ago|
|Summary||Inconclusive, some debris found|
|Site||Indian Ocean, probably Southern|
Some 83 aircraft have been declared “missing” since 1948, according to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network. The list includes planes capable of carrying more than 14 passengers and where no trace — bodies or debris — has ever been found.
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Alaska Airlines Flight 261 was an Alaska Airlines flight of a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 plane that crashed into the Pacific Ocean on January 31, 2000, roughly 2.7 miles (4.3 km; 2.3 nmi) north of Anacapa Island, California, following a catastrophic loss of pitch control, killing all 88 on board: two pilots, three cabin ...Was the lost Avenger found? ›
Avenger wreckage mistaken for Flight 19
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|Ceiling||26,000 feet (8,000 meters) with 44,500 pounds (20,227 kilograms) payload|
|Speed||410 mph/356 ktas (Mach 0.58) at 22,000 feet (6,706 meters)|
|Maximum Allowable Payload||44,000 pounds (19,958 kilograms)|
|Range at Maximum Normal Payload||2,417 miles (2,100 nautical miles)|
By most metrics, the Antonov An-225 is the biggest plane in the world. The Antonov Design Bureau in Ukrainian SSR built just one of these monster cargo aircraft.How far can a Hercules fly? ›
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With a 3,000-mile range and cruise speed of 200 mph, the Hercules was designed to carry 400 troops or two Sherman tanks safely across the ocean. The sheer scale of the aircraft presented unique challenges that Hughes solved with innovative solutions.Can a c5 carry a Chinook? ›
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A transport aircraft such as the C-130 is usually not prepared to withstand the structural loads involved in an inverted flight maneuver.What is the biggest US military plane? ›
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Commonly known as the last AC-130 gunship shot down in combat, Spirit 03 is a story of heroes, harrowing combat and sacrifice. According to the Air Force Special Operations Command history office, the Iraqi army planned to invade Khafji, Saudi Arabia at the end of January, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.What is the heaviest thing to ever fly? ›
The great bustard is probably the heaviest living animal that can fly. The males normally weigh between 10 and 16 kilograms, but some can reach 21 kg. For comparison, the wandering albatross has a larger wingspan, but only the biggest reach even 16 kg.Why is the AC-130 called the Angel of Death? ›
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More than 1,300 pilots and crew members were lost and more than 500 transport planes crashed trying to make it. Flying the Hump contains more than 170 original color photographs depicting the lives of the pilots and their planes during this dangerous operation.
About the Aircraft
The C-130J Hercules can carry up to 128 passengers, or eight pallets of cargo. It can work alongside other airlifters, including the C-27J Spartan and C-17A Globemaster III.