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H-4 Hercules
Role Heavy transport flying boat
National origin United States
Manufacturer Hughes Aircraft
First flight November 2, 1947
Status On display
Produced 1947
Number for 1 last update 2020/08/07 builtNumber built 1
Unit cost
$2.5 million[1]
Career
Other name(s) Spruce Goose
Registration NX37602
Flights 1
Preserved at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

The Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the Spruce Goose; registration NX37602) is a prototype strategic airlift flying boat designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company. 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.

Built from wood because of wartime restrictions on the use of aluminum and concerns about weight, the aircraft was nicknamed the Spruce Goose by critics, although it was made almost entirely of birch.[2][3] The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built, and it had the largest wingspan of any aircraft that had ever flown until the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch first flew on April 13, 2019.[4][5] The aircraft remains in good condition. After having been displayed to the public in Long Beach, California, from 1980 to 1991, it is now on display at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, United States.[6]

Contents

Design and development[editWoodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for ]

Size comparison between the H-4 and a Douglas DC-3

In 1942, the U.S. War Department needed to transport war materiel and personnel to Britain. Allied shipping in the Atlantic Ocean was suffering heavy losses to German U-boats, so a requirement was issued for an aircraft that could cross the Atlantic with a large payload. Wartime priorities meant the aircraft could not be made of strategic materials (e.g., aluminum).[7]

The aircraft was the brainchild of Henry J. Kaiser, a leading Liberty ship builder and manufacturer. Kaiser teamed with aircraft designer Howard Hughes to create what would become the largest aircraft yet built. It was designed to carry 150,000 pounds (68,000 kg), 750 fully equipped troops or two 30-ton M4 Sherman tanks.[8] The original designation "" reflected the Hughes and Kaiser collaboration.[9]

The HK-1 aircraft contract was issued in 1942 as a development contract[10] and called for three aircraft to be constructed in two years for the war effort.[11] Seven configurations were considered, including twin-hull and single-hull designs with combinations of four, six, and eight wing-mounted engines.[12] The final design chosen was a behemoth, eclipsing any large transport then built.[10][13][N 1] It would be built mostly of wood to conserve metal (its elevators and rudder were fabric-covered),[14] and was nicknamed the Spruce Goose (a name Hughes disliked) or the Flying Lumberyard.[15]

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for While Kaiser had originated the "" concept, he did not have an aeronautical background and deferred to Hughes and his designer, Glenn Odekirk.[13] Development dragged on, which frustrated Kaiser, who blamed delays partly on restrictions placed for the acquisition of strategic materials such as aluminum, and partly on Hughes''s fuselage

Hughes continued the program on his own under the designation H-4 Hercules,[N 2] signing a new government contract that now limited production to one example. Work proceeded slowly, and the H-4 was not completed until well after the war was over. The plane was built by the Hughes Aircraft Company at Hughes Airport, location of present-day Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California, employing the plywood-and-resin ""/wiki/Duramold""Duramold"" process[14][N 3] – a form of composite technology – for the laminated for 1 last update 2020/08/07 wood construction, which was considered a technological tour de force.[9] The specialized wood veneer was made by Roddis Manufacturing in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Hamilton Roddis had teams of young women ironing the (unusually thin) strong birch wood veneer before shipping to California.[18] Hughes continued the program on his own under the designation H-4 Hercules,[N 2] signing a new government contract that now limited production to one example. Work proceeded slowly, and the H-4 was not completed until well after the war was over. The plane was built by the Hughes Aircraft Company at Hughes Airport, location of present-day Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California, employing the plywood-and-resin ""/wiki/Duramold""Duramold"" process[14][N 3] – a form of composite technology – for the laminated wood construction, which was considered a technological tour de force.[9] The specialized wood veneer was made by Roddis Manufacturing in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Hamilton Roddis had teams of young women ironing the (unusually thin) strong birch wood veneer before shipping to California.[18]

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for A house moving company transported the airplane on streets to Pier E in Long Beach, California. They moved it in three large sections: the fuselage, each wing—and a fourth, smaller shipment with tail assembly parts and other smaller assemblies. After Hughes Aircraft completed final assembly, they erected a hangar around the flying boat, with a ramp to launch the H-4 into the harbor.[2]

Howard Hughes was called to testify before the Senate War Investigating Committee in 1947 over the use of government funds for the aircraft. During a Senate hearing on August 6, 1947 (the first of a series of appearances), Hughes said:

The Hercules was a monumental undertaking. It is the largest aircraft ever built. It is over five stories tall with a wingspan longer than a football field. That''s a failure, I'' (now unneeded) masterpiece was flight-worthy—thus vindicating the use of government funds.[26]

The H-4 never flew again. Its lifting capacity and ceiling were never tested. A full-time crew of 300 workers, all sworn to secrecy, maintained the aircraft in flying condition in a climate-controlled hangar. The company reduced the crew to 50 workers in 1962, and then disbanded it after Hughes''s National Air and Space Museum would receive the Hughes H-1 Racer and section of the H-4''s profits.[32] The aircraft was transported by barge, train, and truck to its current home in McMinnville, Oregon (about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Portland), where it was reassembled by Contractors Cargo Company and is currently on display. The aircraft arrived in McMinnville on February 27, 1993, after a 138-day, 1,055-mile (1,698 km) trip from Long Beach. The Spruce Goose geodesic dome is now used by Carnival Cruise Lines as its Long Beach terminal.

By the mid-1990s, the former Hughes Aircraft hangars at Hughes Airport, including the one that held the Hercules, were converted into sound stages. Scenes from movies such as Titanic, What Women Want and End of Days have been filmed in the 315,000-square-foot (29,300 m2) aircraft hangar where Howard Hughes created the flying boat. The hangar will be preserved as a structure eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Buildings in what is today the large light industry and housing development in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles.[33]

The Western Museum of Flight in Torrance, California has a large collection of construction photographs and blueprints of the Hercules H-4.[citation needed]

Specifications (H-4)[edit]

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Performance specifications are projected.

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major engine

General characteristics

Performance

Comparison between five of the largest aircraft:
  Hughes H-4 Hercules
the 1 last update 2020/08/07    Antonov An-225
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for   Stratolaunch

Notable appearances in media[edit]

Main article: Aircraft in fiction § Hughes H-4 Hercules (Spruce Goose)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related the 1 last update 2020/08/07 lists Related lists

the 1 last update 2020/08/07 ReferencesReferences[edit]

NotesWoodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for [edit]

  1. ^ Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Quote: ""
  2. ^^ The Hughes design was initially identified as the HFB-1 to signify "".[14]
  3. ^ The Hughes Corporation had used the duramold process, which laminated plywood and resin into a lightweight but strong building material that could be shaped.
  4. ^ Hughes''s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 277–81, Random House, New York, NY. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
  5. ^^ Marshfield women recall building engineering marvels of the skies Archived 2014-12-17 at the Wayback Machine, Marshfield News Herald
  6. ^ The Great Aviator: Howard Hughes, His Life, Loves & Films — A Documentary. Los Angeles: Delta Entertainment Corporation, 2004.
  7. ^ "". HISTORY.com. A&E Television Networks, LLCWoodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for . Retrieved 14 February 2017.Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for
  8. ^ "". Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Government. Retrieved 14 February 2017.Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for
  9. ^^ McDonald 1981, pp. 78–79.
  10. ^ McDonald 1981, pp. 85–87.
  11. ^ Francillon 1990, pp. 100, 102.
  12. ^ "" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine se-technology.com. Retrieved: October 6, 2010.
  13. ^ "" Life, October 27, 2009. Retrieved: August 28, 2011.
  14. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for ^^ Dean, Paul. "" Los Angeles Times, April 21, 1983, p. J1.
  15. ^ Dietrich, Noah; Thomas, Bob (1972). Howard, The Amazing Mr. Hughes. Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, Inc. pp. 209–216.
  16. ^ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, Smithsonian Institution, January 24, 1975, p. 91, For over two years the General Services Administration has been negotiating with Summa Corporation (formerly the Hughes Tool Co.) concerning the disposition of the experimental wooden cargo plane known as the "" that was constructed by Howard Hughes''s interest in the "" and in another aircraft owned by Summa called the "" GSA, Summa, and SI are now exploring the feasibility of an arrangement whereby GSA will transfer its rights to the "" to the Smithsonian, and the Smithsonian will exchange the "" with Summa in return for a model of the "" suitable for museum display, the "" and $600,000. Such an arrangement will also settle any dispute between GSA and Summa regarding existing ownership rights in the "" and will protect the "" from commercial exploitation.
  17. ^ "". Smithsonian Institution Archives. Smithsonian Institution. 1975. Retrieved May for 1 last update 2020/08/07 12,May 12, 2017. Summary: The National Air and Space Museum acquires the Hughes Flying Boat, HK-1, "" from the U.S. General Services Administration. The museum decided to retain a 51-foot wing section and return the rest of the craft to the builder, the Hughes Tool Company (now the Summa Corporation). The Summa Corporation donated $700,000 and the historic Hughes Racer (in which Howard Hughes established world records in 1935 and 1937), and made portions of the aircraft available to eight public museums selected from a list compiled by the Smithsonian.
  18. ^ Bailey, Eric (14 July 1985). "". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  19. ^ "". OregonLive.com. 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2014-06-24. the 1 last update 2020/08/07
  20. ^ Freeman, Paul. "" Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: California, Western Los Angeles area, October 10, 2012.
  21. ^ Den Ouden, Alex. "". Historical engineering and technology, industrial archaeology and history. ALEX DEN OUDEN EINDHOVEN - NEDERLAND. Retrieved Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 7 September 2015.

BibliographyWoodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for [edit]

Further reading[edit][edit]

  • David, Peter. The Rocketeer: The Official Movie Adaptation. Burbank, California: W D Publications Inc., 1991. ISBN 1-56115-190-4.
  • Schwartz, Milton L.The Spruce Goose Commemorative Pictorial. Oakland, California: The Wrather Corporation by Mike Roberts Color Productions, 1983.
  • Yenne, Bill. Seaplanes & Flying Boats: A Timeless Collection from Aviation''s Angels (1930)
  • The Outlaw (1943)
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