Hughes H-4
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Hughes H-4 Hercules. Howard Hughes and his giant boat.

Hughes H-4 Hercules

In 2004, the famous director Martin Scorsese shot the famous movie "Aviator". The film received 5 «Oscars", stirred up a wave of interest in one of the most outstanding personalities in American history - the billionaire Howard Hughes.

Hughes H-4 Howarth Hughes

Howard Robard Hughes Jr. was born on December 24 1905 of the year. In 18 years, he inherited a drilling equipment company from his father. During the oil boom in America, the company quickly rose to the top of the line for profitability.

Young Howard, who had not even completed secondary education was diversified. His interests were vast and irrepressible energy and ambition made him aspire to be first in everything. Producer, engineer, entrepreneur, director, one of the pioneers of aviation, Hughes Jr. always wanted to achieve unprecedented success.

Path to aviation.

In 1930, the filming of Hell's Angels began. The film was about the legendary pilots of the First World War. Howard Hughes became the director and independent producer of the tape. On the set, he seriously became interested in aviation, learned to fly and set himself the goal of becoming the best pilot in the world. In fairness it should be noted, Hughes became a first-class pilot, and subsequently set several world records and participated in the testing of many aircraft, including his own designs.

Hughes H-4 Hercules 2

With the outbreak of World War II, the United States realized that there was a need for an urgent transfer of industry to military products. A heavy blow to Pearl Harbor, systematic attacks by German submarines, led the military to the idea of ​​the need to create a large-capacity flying boat. Taking advantage of his influence in power, and huge opportunities, the aircraft designer and owner of the film companies Howard Hughes, along with the industrialist and owner of the shipbuilding company Henry John Kaiser, received a contract for 13 million dollars from the US War Department.

Initially, the project of a giant flying boat was named HK-1, but when Henry Kaiser left the project, the project was now called H-4 (This was Hughes' fourth self-developed aircraft). And since the plane was almost completely wooden, the insulting nickname stuck to it SpruceGoose- "Spruce Goose".

Despite the fact that, by the 40 years, most of the aircraft was built from duralumin, many designs were still completely wooden. For example, the English aircraft "Moskito", or the Soviet fighter LaGG-3.

But it was not possible to build such a giant plane made of wood and plywood in a furniture factory, the cinema mogul built a special hangar, and decided to use the already known technology of hot-molding wooden veneer. This technology has been used since the 30's. And Hughes already built airplanes with this kind of molding.

Hughes H-4 Hercules 45

The technology was simple and technological. Polished steel was produced matrix. Then it fit package of layers of birch veneer with phenolic glue. At temperatures 150 degrees under pressure in an autoclave polymerisation adhesive. It makes excellent stamping, light, water-resistant, suitable for machining.

The same technology was used in the Soviet Union, and called bakelite plywood.

The eccentricity of the billionaire, the desire to by all means be the first, to achieve perfection in everything, and led to the appearance of this wooden monster.

Wingspan boat was unheard of - 97,71 meters. This record has not been beaten to this day.

  • Length - 66,65 meters.
  • Height 24,16 meters.
  • The cargo compartment had a volume of 4700 cubic meters.
  • 180000 kg take-off weight. Of these 60000 payload.
  • 750 soldiers in full combat gear could fit in the cargo hold.

The flying boat could "hang" in the air for almost a day, and fly 5000 km. On the upper wing, 8 engines were installed. The plane in our time, surprised by its size of visitors to the museum in Oregon, where it is stored with the 1993 year.

Hughes H-4 Hercules 5354

The first and last flight of "wooden wonder".

A huge crowd gathered in the Los Angeles Harbor 2 on November 1947, when the plane was rolled out of the hangar.

The free life of Hughes, in which there was a lot of space for flying, filming movies and love stories, thwarted all the terms under contracts with the military. The terms of the contract were also constantly changing, unusual dimensions, the uniqueness of technology ... perfectionism and mental breakdowns of its creator, became another reason for the fact that the plane went on trial only in 1947 year.

The boat ran long and hard in the harbor. Finally, it came off and climbed to a height of about 20 meters. Having flown about 2 kilometers, the boat completed its first and last ever flight.

From the museum of flight

More flying boat H-4 Hercules in the air has never raised. Although he kept Howard Flight plane full readiness before the end of his days. Staff from the 300 people to monitor the state of the machine up to 50-ies. The permanent inspection technicians were checking all the systems, and the "race" engines. Later, the staff was reduced to 50 people, but even then the costs of the giant treated in 1 million dollars annually.

Howard Hughes died in April 5 1976 years. His brainchild bought a businessman who put the plane for viewing with 1983 years.

Hughes H-4 Hercules inside

Now "Goose" is the property of Disney, stands for viewing in the city of McQueville.

The aircraft, built on 90% of birch veneer 1947 year, is still one of the biggest aircraft in the world.

Characteristics of Hughes H-4.



Modification H-4
Wingspan, m 97.54
Aircraft Length m 66.45
Height, m 24.08
Wing area, m2 1061.88
empty aircraft
maximum take-off 136078
Fuel l 52996
engine's type 8 PD Pratt Whitney R4360-4A
Power, hp X 8 3000
Maximum speed km / h 351
Cruising speed, km / h 282
Practical range, km 5633
Practical ceiling, m 7165
Crew 5
Payload: 59000 kg up to a maximum commercial cargo

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