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Howard Hughes and the Spruce Goose (ePub)

The Story of the H-K1 Hercules


By Graham M. Simons
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 118.0 MB (.epub)
Pages: 256
Illustrations: Integrated black and white photographs
ISBN: 9781473838789
Published: 27th August 2014


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Howard Hughes' life ambition was to make a significant contribution to the field of aviation development. But the monumental folly of his endeavours on the H-KI Hercules meant that he came to be known and remembered to a great extent for all the wrong reasons. The 'Spruce Goose' (a name Hughes detested) became a product of his wild fixation on perfection and scale. Once completed, it was the largest flying machine ever built. Its wingspan of 320 feet remains the largest in history. Yet it only completed one flight; flying for a mile on its maiden voyage above Long Beach Harbour, before being consigned to the history books as a failure.

Experienced author Graham M. Simons turns his attention to the production process that saw this colossus take shape. In words and images, all aspects of this process are illustrated. We have shots taken during the initial design period, images of the craft under construction, and photographs taken at the test flights. In addition, Simons has been gifted access to the highly prized and rarely seen aircraft manual produced for the aircraft, content from which has been extracted and used to supplement the narrative.

The book goes on to explore the political issues that sprung up as a result of Hughes' endeavours, looking into the Senate War Investigations Committee's findings which explored the extent to which government funds had been utilised in the development and construction of the airship, adding a whole new layer of controversy to the proceedings.

"...it's quite a testament to Simons' skill as a writer to make engineering development of a plane so interesting."

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, June 2022

This masterly and compact study is the most balanced and authoritative contextual re-visitation of the whole intriguing Hughes Hercules saga to date.

Aerospace - January 2016 - Dr Norman Barfield

Graham M. Simons' latest book provides all the information you will ever need to know about Howard Hughes' famous project. From a brief history of the early years of its creator and his family, through to the nitty-gritty of the designing and building process, and the infamous Government hearings into the way in which funding was used. It is accompanied by a series of fascinating images documenting every facet of the aircraft's construction.
Whether you take the view of the project being a misunderstood work of genius or a white elephant, it is hard not to come away from this account without an appreciation for the work that went into the 'Spruce Goose's' construction.
A terrific insight into the creation of a titan.

Pilot Magazine

Excellent. A completely new view of Hughes, the Goose and the Hearings.

David Lee, former Deputy Director and Curator of Aircraft at the Imperial War Museum
 Graham M. Simons

About Graham M. Simons

GRAHAM M. SIMONS was one of the founders of the world-famous aviation museum at Duxford near Cambridge where his interest was piqued watching the making of the film Battle of Britain there in the late 1960s. From this, and with an engineering background, he progressed to membership of a number of aviation societies, including sitting on the British Aviation Preservation Council, eventually taking the position of Engineering Director with one group. Graham combines his love of writing with his skills in production to create and publish aviation histories focused on a variety of subjects.

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