What's a Spruce Goose?
The Spruce Goose might have only been made out of wood, but it's the largest flying boat ever built in this world that we live in. The H-4 Hercules was nick named the Spruce Goose as well as The Flying Lumberyard by it's skeptics and critics. Due to the wartime effort to conserve metal, the plane was made almost entirely out of birch wood, rather than spruce. This behemoth aircraft was designed and built by billionaire Howard Hughes at his aircraft company.
This behemoth plane is over five stories tall at a height of over 79 feet. It's wingspan is longer than both a city block or a football field at over 320 feet. The Spruce Goose is over 218 feet long, and it's powered by eight 4,000 horse power, four bladed engines, with propeller diameters of 17 feet 2 inches.
This massive aircraft is capable of carrying 750 troops at a range of 3,000 miles with a cruising speed of 250 miles per hour.
On November 2nd 1947 the Spruce Goose flew just off of the coast of Long Beach, California for over one mile at an altitude of 70 feet above the water for one minute. The Spruce Goose got up to a speed of 135 miles per hour, and this was the only time this great aircraft ever flew, but that apparently was just enough for it to hold the classification as the largest flying boat.
After it's one and only flight the Spruce Goose was maintained in perfect flying condition by a full time crew of workers in a special climate controlled hangar, until after Howard Hughes death in 1976. Today that same massive hangar is being used as a movie sound stage, where scenes from movies such as "The Titanic" have been filmed.
After Howard Hughes death the Spruce Goose went on display in a large dome by the Queen Mary Exhibit in Long Beach, California. Today after a complicated 1,055 mile journey, you'll find the Spruce Goose located at the Evergreen Aviation museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
There was only one of the H-4 Hercules planes ever produced, and the Spruce Goose is definitely a one of a kind airplane. I find this entire story to be totally fascinating, however I'm sure if it wasn't for Howard Hughes and all of his money, that the Spruce Goose wouldn't still be around today, or be any more famous than an everyday ordinary paper airplane.