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Hughes H-4
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 years. In 18 years, he inherited from his father the company to produce drilling equipment. During the oil boom in the US, the company has quickly risen to the top ranks of the yield.


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 year began shooting the film "Hell's Angels". The film was about the legendary pilots of the First World War. Howard Hughes became a director and independent producer of the tape. On the set he is seriously became interested in aviation, learn to fly, and set out to become the best driver in the world. To be fair, Hughes became a first-class pilot, and later set several world records and took part in the test of many aircraft, including its own design.

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 was a giant flying boat namesHK-1But when the project went from Henry Kaiser, the project was now to be calledH-4(it was the fourth aircraft of its own design Hughes). Since the aircraft was almost completely wooden, stuck to his insulting nicknameSpruceGoose- «Spruce Goose."

Despite the fact that, in 40-th year, the majority of planes already built of duralumin, many designs were still completely made of wood. For example, English plane "Mosquito", or Soviet fighter LaGG-3.

But to build a giant airplane made of wood and plywood furniture factory is not possible, moviemaker built a special hangar, and decided to use already known technology of hot forming wood veneer. This technology was used to 30-ies. And Hughes has built the aircraft with the help of a 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.

Eccentric billionaire, desire at all costs to be the first to achieve perfection in everything, and this led to a 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.

Flying boat could "hung for" in the air for almost a day and fly 5000 km. On verhneraspolozhennom wing 8 installed engines. The aircraft in our time, it is surprising for its size visitors to the museum in Oregon, where it is stored with 1993 years.

Hughes H-4 Hercules 5354

The first and last flight of "wooden wonder".

A huge crowd had gathered in the harbor of Los Angeles in November 2 1947 years when the plane rolled out of the hangar.

Free Hughes lives in which there were many places to fly, shoot movies and romance novels, tore all the terms of contracts with the military. Terms of the contract is also constantly changing, unusual dimensions, the unique technology ... perfectionism and mental breakdowns of its founder, became another reason, the fact that the plane came to trial only 1947 year.

Boat long and hard to run up in the harbor. Finally, he broke away and climbed to an altitude of about 20 meters. Flying about 2 kilometers Boat has completed its first and last in the history of flight.

From the museum of flight

More flying boatH-4 Herculesin 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 the "Goose" is owned by Disney, is to see the city Makvinvill.

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

Features 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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