We stand on the shoulders of giants.  

My cycling has been somewhat less than I would have liked over the past days, mostly due to ‘rain stopping play’, well not exactly stopping play but severely curtailed it, Hamilton the caped crusader (small boy in a big yellow cape).

We swap DVDs here in City Park, and I was given Aviator, starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

I have actually seen the Hughes H-4 Hercules in Long Beach California, registration numbers NX37602, (known as the spruce goose by critics), a cargo-carrying flying boat built by the Hughes Aircraft Company. The aircraft made only one brief flight on November 2nd 1947 and never went into production.

The movie used poetic licence giving the impression that the aircraft was the brainchild of Howard Hughes, but the concept of the aircraft was that of Henry J. Kaiser, a leading builder of the Liberty ship.  Kaiser collaborated with Howard Hughes on the aircraft designer the “HK-1” and creates what would become the largest aircraft yet built. It was designed to carry 150,000 pounds (68,000 kg), 750 fully equipped troops or two 30-ton M4 Sherman tanks. 

The design was really that of Henry J Kaiser a shipbuilder who saw the potential in a large transport plane capable of carrying large quantities of men and material across the Atlantic during World War Two, shipping being so hazardous due to the Wolf Packs of U-boats operating in the Atlantic at that time. Build from wood (using the Duramold process) because of wartime restrictions on the use of aluminium. This was not a new concept for the very successful Second World War aircraft, the de Havilland DH. 98 Mosquito was a twin-engine and multitask aircraft constructed mainly from wood. 

You can read about the Hercules, at the time, the largest aircraft ever built, try to take in all the dimensions, over five stories tall with a wingspan longer than a football field. That’s more than a city block, but only when you see it in real life can you begin to understand how the Hercules was such a monumental undertaking. Not so much a flying boat as a flying ship.

In all, development costs for the plane reached $23 million (equivalent to around $211 million in today’s money), the project was scrapped on Hughes death.

We stand on the shoulders of giants.  

stay safe.

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