Most people say that Howard Hughes was crazy, but some people call him a visionary. He was probably both. During World War II, the United States government charged him with solving a design problem: Make an airplane capable of carrying a large number of troops that can land on water. And don’t use materials vital to the war effort which meant no metal.
Hughes’ solution was to build a plane out of laminated wood, and the Spruce Goose was born. People were incredulous. Congress was furious. Hughes’ funding was pulled and his partner quit. The plane sat until the end of the war.
We all know that wood can float, but could the Spruce Goose fly? Hughes put the skeptics doubts to rest when he flew the plane in 1947. That was the first and last time the Spruce Goose was airborne.
For a while it was kept in a huge domed building in Long Beach, California where I saw it. My reaction to the Spruce Goose was similar to what I experienced walking through Cathedrals in Europe or cave dwellings in New Mexico. Seeing it, it is hard to believe humans could make such a thing, much less that it could fly. If you look at my pictures, (Click on the “View All Images” bar above) you’ll see what I mean.
Howard Hughes suffered a sad fate, but he sure built one beautiful flying machine. If you ever have the chance to see it, don’t pass it up. Today, the Spruce Goose sits in the Evergreen Avaition Museum in Oregon. For more infomation, click HERE.