First designated HK- I, later changed to H-4 when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project, The Hughes Flying Boat is commonly called the "Spruce Goose". The aircraft is a cargo-type flying boat designed to transport men and materials over long distances. Originally conceived by Henry Kaiser (famous for the production of liberty ships) the aircraft was designed and constructed by Howard Hughes and his staff . The Hughes Flying Boat is of a single hull, eight-engine design, with a single vertical tail, fixed wing-tip floats, and full cantilever wing and tail surfaces. The entire airframe and surface structures are composed of laminated wood (primarily birch). All primary control surfaces except the flaps are fabric covered. The "Spruce Goose" hull is divided into two areas: a flight deck for the operating crew and a large cargo deck. Access between the two decks is provided bv a circular stairway. Below the cargo deck are fuel bays divided by watertight bulkheads.

It was born of a critical national need to fly over the enemy submarines ravaging shipping lanes during World War II. First designated the HK-1 for the Howard Hughes and Henry Kaiser venture that responded to the government requirement, it was later called the H-4 Hercules.

The Hughes Flying Boat was to be the biggest airplane ever built and probably the most prodigious aviation project of all time. Only the courage and solitary dedication of Howard Hughes and his small development group caused this project to advance what a disgruntled U.S Senator dubbed the "flying lumberyard" resulting in its historic flight in November 1947.

Dimensions:
Wingspan: 319.92' (97.54m)
Fuselage: 219' (66-75m)
Tailspan: 113.5'
Vertical Tailspan: 49.5'
Gross Weight: Approx. 400,000 lbs. (181,440 kg.)
Fuselage Height: Approx. 30' (9.14m.)
Performance:

Design Cruising Speed: Approx. 200 mph (322kml/h)
Landing Speed at Sea Level: 10% above stall with 45' flap 81 to 87 mph.
Maximum Range: Approx. 3,000 miles
Endurance in Hours at Best Cruising Speed: 20.9 hrs.
Maximum Service Ceiling: 20,900 ft.
Maximum Rate of Climb at Sea Level: Approx. 1,000 ft/min
Engines: 8 Pratt and Whitney R-4360's rated at 3,000 h.p. each. Largest radial reciprocating engines ever built.
Propellers: 8 four-bladed Hamilton Standards, diameter 17' 2". The four inboard propellers have reverse pitch capability.

As previously noded, the Spruce Goose was the largest aircraft ever built. The idea belonged to Henry Kaiser and the design and production belonged to the amazing Howard Hughes. Fact of the matter is that it no longer sits in Long Beach, Ca.. Housed in a specially designed geodesic dome leased by the Disney Company since 1982, the Spruce Goose outlived its ability to make a profit and was moved in 1992.

The Aero Club of Southern California owned the Goose and in '92, began to dismantle it and shrink-wrap sections for shipment to its new home 50 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. That October, sections were shipped on a huge ocean-going barge along the Pacific coast to Portland, where upon it was pulled to an industrial park in Vancouver, Washington. Here it sat for several months, awaiting adequate river levels on the Willamette River, in order to complete the journey to its new home in McMinnville, Oregon. Crossing the Willamette Falls locks set a record as the longest load to ever lock through and the wings set a record as the highest. The Spruce Goose is now on public display in the 121,000-square-foot Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville.


source:www.sprucegoose.org

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