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Roy Alba of AlbaPaintings.com

      H-4 Hercules

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18" X 24" X 5/8", stretched canvas, oil, $200, free shipping in USA & Canada

 
This is Howard Hughes Spruce Goose also known as the painting is entitled "H-4 HERCULES" and is accompanied to the song 1947 hit song "G.I.Jive" by Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five. The H-4 Hercules was originally contracted by the U.S. government for use in World War II, as a viable way to transport troops and equipment across the Atlantic instead of sea going troop transports that were liable to the threat of German U-Boats. Shipyards across America were at full production but enemy submarines were sinking the critical vessels nearly as fast as they could be built. Something had to be done.  The idea for the HK-1 flying boat came from Henry Kaiser... Head of one of the largest shipbuilding firms of the time, Kaiser thought a ship that could fly over the danger might be the answer. Howard Hughes was known as an innovator in aircraft construction and design. These two men, both legends in their own time, would launch the venture to build the huge craft (originally three were to be built). .. In 1947, it was the largest aircraft ever built, weighing 190 tons.... The airplane has a wingspan over 100 feet wider than the wings of a Boeing 747.  The aircraft was nicked the "Spruce Goose" by critics. The aircraft was actually made of birch rather than spruce. Hughes was summoned to testify before the Senate War Investigating Committee to explain why the aircraft had not been delivered to the United States Army Air Forces during the war...one Senator grudgingly referring to the plane as "The flying lumberyard". During a break in the hearings, he flew back to California to conduct a test on the "Goose", it was during this test the accidental flight took place. This event, whether intended or not, put a halt to critics of the project and served as the finale for this gigantic aircraft. The Hercules flew only once for a mile with Hughes at the controls on November 2, 1947. Though his feathers had been ruffled by the intense questioning he had endured, the flight had vindicated Hughes and the project.

Why did Hughes never fly the plane again? Some said he was afraid to, but his closest associates denied it. The more likely explanation is that there was no reason to continue. The war was long over. The need for big seaplanes had evaporated. Wood construction was obviously a dead end. Even before the flight Hughes admitted that the plane was too large to be economical.
The H-4 Hercules, which by now would be known forever as the "Spruce Goose", was put into storage . It remained hidden from public view, carefully preserved, until after Howard Robard Hughes death in April of 1976. ....but the committee disbanded without releasing a final report. Because the contract required the aircraft to be built of "non-strategic materials," Hughes built the aircraft largely from birch (rather than aluminum) in his Westchester, California facility to fulfill his contract.


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