Jet propulsion technology began to revolutionize military and commercial aviation during World War II as the Germans realized the enormous potential of the jet engine.
In motorsports, the introduction of the jet engine broke airspeed records unattainable by private enthusiasts such as Howard Hughes, who built improved propeller-driven aircraft and made it an international government-funded project vs. government-funded project, Now the speed is close to 10 times the speed of sound! Today, I will talk to you about the story of Howard Hughes.
In the United States, there is a well-known rich second generation who has become a Hollywood film and television tycoon by making movies, and has become an American flying hero by playing airplanes. And he is America's first billionaire, aerospace engineer, philanthropist, Hollywood goddess harvester, and the idol of a generation of Americans. He is Howard Hughes.
Howard had no worries about food and drink since he was a child, but he was withdrawn, shy, and even hated school. But he's shown an astonishing flair for technology. At the age of 11, he assembled his own wireless radio. He was also the first licensed radio station operator in Houston, call sign W5CY. At the age of 12, he dismantled his father's steam engine and made a "model car", which also made the headlines of the local newspaper. At the age of 14, he started to play with airplanes (it was a real airplane).
When he was a teenager, he set a FLAG for his life:
Become the best golfer in the world, the best pilot in the world and the best filmmaker in the world.
At the age of 18, Howard's parents died, but I don't know if it is an opportunity or a misfortune. He inherited his father's company and inheritance, and became a wealthy businessman in the United States at a young age. At the age of 25, Howard truly became one of the top producers in Hollywood with Hell's Angels. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 3rd Academy Awards, and Hughes also earned a lot of money, fame and fortune.
After amassing enough wealth, his interest shifted from a film career to aviation. When filming "Hell's Angels", Hughes accumulated a lot of experience and resources in aircraft manufacturing.
When he was 14 years old, Howard's father took him on a Curtiss seaplane. After that, Howard became obsessed with flying, and liked to learn flying knowledge from various scientific magazines.
In 1930, he founded the Hughes Aircraft Company, employing the best American engineers to build faster and more efficient planes. Since then, he has embarked on the road of self-design, development, final assembly and test flight, and has created many flying world records.
On September 13, 1935, the H-1 set a speed record of 566 km/h
January 19, 1937, set a flight record from Los Angeles to New York in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds
On July 10, 1938, he drove the Super Electra to create a world record of 91 hours flying around the world
For this lunatic rich second generation, the dream of flying is not as simple as just flying a plane:
Almost all flight records are created by foreigners, and it is my greatest gratification that the flight records I create can improve the international reputation of the American aviation industry.
Hughes personally tested the Hughes H-1 Racer (H1), a new aircraft named after him, and set a world record of a flight speed of 566 km/h. H1 is the originator of retractable landing gear. Subsequent Boeing, as well as the design of many aircraft in World War II, refer to H1. Then Hughes drove an improved version of the H1B aircraft to successfully achieve a non-stop flight across the United States, creating a world record of 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds, and was received by President Roosevelt.
In 1938, Hughes completed another round-the-world flight, which took 3 days, 19 hours and 17 minutes, which needless to say created a world record. In 1939, Hughes took control of Trans World Airlines (TWA), introduced the greatest piston engine airliner "Lockheed Constellation" in aviation history, and took the lead in providing transatlantic aircraft routes. Under his management, TWA quickly turned losses into profits, and Hughes became the first billionaire in the United States, known as the "Father of TWA".
On July 7, 1946, Howard Hughes crashed the XF-11 in Beverly Hills when he was testing the XF-11. The plane crashed into three houses and set fire to them. Hughes suffered a broken collar bone, six ribs and third-degree burns all over his body in the accident. His signature mustache was grown after the accident to cover a scar on his upper lip.
On November 2, 1947, Hughes personally flew the H-4 Hercules giant seaplane for 1 mile. This is the plane he worked the most in his life.
Howard has designed and modified many aircrafts throughout his life, among which the "H-4 Hercules", known as "Spruce Goose", made him put the most efforts.
After the Pearl Harbor incident broke out, the top priority facing the US military was not how to counterattack the Japanese army, but how to deliver supplies to Britain. The Atlantic Ocean in 1942 was the most active period for the "wolf pack" composed of German U-boats. A large number of Allied ships were sunk by U-boats. At that time, the U.S. military did not have strong anti-submarine capabilities. In order to ensure the normal operation of London, the U.S. military had to consider airlifting supplies, and the development of a water transport aircraft that could cross the Atlantic was put on the agenda. This is the later H-4 "Hercules" water transport aircraft, which can carry 750 soldiers and their equipment at a time, and sail 4,800 kilometers in the Atlantic Ocean! At that time, human transport aircraft had never achieved such an achievement. The talented designer Howard Hughes took over the task and won a US$18 million grant from the US military against all odds.
Hughes is a true perfectionist. The construction speed of this transport aircraft was very slow. After the threat of U-boats declined, the development of large water transport aircraft was no longer listed as a top priority. Until the end of World War II, the H-4 "vigorously God" has not been built yet. Moreover, almost the entire transport plane is made of wood, and the critical media gave it the nickname "Spruce Goose", which made Hughes very angry.
The final H-4 "Hercules" cost 2.5 million US dollars and can only be described as a "behemoth". Its wingspan reaches a record 97 meters, its body length exceeds 66 meters, and its height reaches 9.15 meters, which makes it the largest aircraft ever designed by human beings, and it still holds the world record for the largest wingspan. The body height is the same as the Airbus A380, ranking first in the world. Due to the difficulty of manufacturing and the shortage of wartime supplies, Hughes continued to complete the work on the H-4 "Hercules" although he missed World War II. The behemoth was assembled in November 1947, but at that time almost everyone did not believe that such a large aircraft could fly. So on the beach in California, Hughes personally drove the H-4 "Hercules" for the first test flight, which was also the last time it flew into the sky. It successfully flew 24 meters above the ground and landed smoothly after flying more than 1,600 meters.
Restricted by the backward engine technology at the time and being too large, the H-4 Hercules project was later abandoned. This million-dollar political ball was finally parked at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Today, this H-4 "Hercules" has become a permanent souvenir in the history of human aviation. Perhaps the failure of the H-4 Hercules hit Hughes so hard that he hasn't been involved in building the aircraft since.
As of 2000, Hughes' companies produced 40% of the world's active satellites. So much so that it was called "the soul of the US air defense system" by President Truman.
Not only that, Howard also used the profits of the aircraft company to create the "Howard Hughes Medical Institute" dedicated to the study of "the origin of life." Until now, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has been the world's second largest medical research funding.
These achievements made Howard even as famous as Lincoln, the highest-rated president in American history, and became a household name in the United States.
Learn the history stories and build your own turbofan jet engine toy! Not only will it fit on your kids' bedroom bookshelf, but it can also be used in science and auto shop lessons.