Hughes H-4 Hercules

In 1942 American millionaire and aviation enthusiast, Howard Hughes, and ship-builder, Henry Kaiser, were jointIy awarded
$18 million of US government funding to build a “flying liberty ship”.
This was to be a huge flying boat capable of ferrying American soldiers and military equipment across the Atlantic, free from the threat of German U-boats. Kaiser withdrew from the project when it was still in the design stage, leasing Hughes to complete the
gargantuan aircraft on his own.
The H -4 Hercules was principally made of laminated birch, but the press, much to Hughes’s annoyance, dubbed it the “Spruce Goose”. With eight engines on its massive wing, it was by far the largest aircraft built until the late 1980s. It was intended to carry a payload of around 700 servicemen.
The war ended before the prototype was finished. In June 1946 its major components were moved from the Hughes Aircraft Company’s factory to Long Beach. California, for final assembly. The flying boat was finally launched on 1 November 1947, having cost Hughes some
$5 million. The next day, with Hughes piloting,  the Hercules lifted off the water and made a straight flight of about a mile at a height of 70-80 feet. No further flights were attempted. In September 1953 the H-4 was seriously damaged and it never flew again.

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