The Hughes H-4 Hercules

During World War II, the American industrialist and aviation entrepreneur Howard Hughes (1905-1976) wanted to help the war effort. Out of this came the Hughes H-4 Hercules, one of the largest planes ever built.

It was supposed to transport troops over the Atlantic, while starting and landing on water. Furthermore, because metals were scarce during the war, Hughes built this plane mostly out of wood (birch). Its wingspan was320 ft 11 in (97.54 m). It was218 ft 8 in (66.65 m) long and79 ft 4 in (24.18 m) hight. Some critics would call it “Spruce Goose”, a name Hughes hated.

The war ended before it was fully completed and afterwards in 1947, there was an investigation whether Hughes wasted government funds. Hughes then proved them all wrong by completing and flying the gigantic aircraft for 1 mile and around 70 ft (21 m) over the water.

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By Unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons