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      //  A V I A T I O N  T I M E L I N E  //




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      //  H O W A R D  H U G H E S  //




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      H O W A R D  H U G H E S:
      A V I A T I O N  H I G H L I G H T S



      picture enlarge Howard Hughes sits in the cockpit of the Spruce Goose Howard Hughes and Boeing Army pursuit plane - California 1940s picture enlarge picture enlarge



    • Source

    • 1920:  At age fourteen, takes his first flight in a Curtiss flying boat.

    • OCTOBER 1927:  Begins filming World War I flying epic, Hell's Angels; spends $500,000 for more than forty vintage fighter and scouting aircraft, world's largest private air force.

    • JANUARY 7, 1928:  Receives pilots license.

    • JANUARY 30, 1930:  Hell's Angels premieres in Hollywood; aviation sequences remain unequaled.

    • SPRING 1932:  Founds Hughes Aircraft Company in Glendale, California.

    • SEPTEMBER 1932:  Under the pseudonym "Charles Howard" gets a job as a baggage handler for American Airlines; advances to co-pilot within weeks.

    • JANUARY 14, 1934:  Wins first-place air trophy in Miami in a modified Boeing.

    • 1934:  Develops and tests the first retractable landing gear and flushed rivets to streamline airplane designs of the future.

    • SEPTEMBER 13, 1935:  Sets new land speed record of 352.46 m.p.h. at Santa Ana, California, in the Silver Bullet, the worlds fastest plane, built by Hughes Aircraft. (Made a forced landing in a beet field, during final run, at 100 m.p.h.)


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      1948 Time magazine cover. Featuring movie mogul, aircraft designer and multi-millionaire Howard Hughes


    • 1935:  Proves, in a series of death-defying flights over the Sierra Nevadas, that high-altitude flying greatly increases air speed, opening a new frontier for commercial aviation.

    • JANUARY 14, 1936:  Sets new transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to Newark of nine hours, twenty-seven minutes. "All I did was sit there. The engine did the work," he explains.

    • 1936:  Designs and perfects an oxygen feeder system that enhances pilot safety during high-altitude flights.

    • JANUARY 19,1937:  Makes the world's greatest long-distance speed flight, setting a new transcontinental record from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, of seven hours, twenty-eight minutes.

    • MARCH 3,1937:  Receives the prestigious Harmon International rophy—as world's outstanding aviator for 1936— in ceremony at the White House. President Franklin D. Roosevelt presents the trophy, given by the Ligue Internationale des Aviateurs. Hughes is only the third American to receive the honour, following Charles Lindbergh and Wiley Post.

    • JULY 10-14, 1938:  Flies around the world in three days, nineteen hours, and seventeen minutes. With his four crewmen, in a Lockheed Model 14 twin-engine transport, Hughes establishes a new record and returns home a ticker-tape hero.

    • 1939:  Perfects power-booster radio receivers and transmitters in contemporary aircraft.

    • 1941—1943:  Designs revolutionary ammunition feed chutes for fifty-caliber machine guns, doubling the rate of fire.

    • JULY 7, 1946:  Survives fiery near-fatal Beverly Hills crash of the XF-11, which is designed for photo reconnaissance. He later redesigns propeller configuration for next prototype.

      Debris from the crash of Howard Hughes' XF-11 reconnaissance plane lies scattered between two houses damaged after the plane's test flight on July 7, 1946. Hughes was seriously injured when the landing gear jammed


    • 1946-1949:  As principal shareholder of TWA he designs the first cost-effective routes to Europe and the South Pacific.

    • APRIL 5, 1947:  Climbs back into the XF-11 for a successful test flight.

    • NOVEMBER 2, 1947:  Proves his critics wrong with surprise test flight of the Hercules, aka the HK-1, popularly known as the Spruce Goose. The Long Beach, California, flight lasts less than sixty seconds, but it reinvents Hughes as an aviation hero and remains one of the most famous flights ever.

      After pouring $7 million of his own money and another $18 million of government funds into the behemoth, Hughes only succeeded in making a single mile-long flight in 1947. The record-setting plane never flew again and is today a tourist attraction at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon


    • 1940s:  Builds Hughes Electronics into the single largest supplier of weapons systems to the United States Air Force and Navy.

    • 1941-1956:  Builds Hughes Aircraft from a four-man operation into an eighty-thousand-employee powerhouse that includes Hughes Electronics and Hughes Helicopter. (Company develops thirty-three hundred Ph.D.s.)

    • 1949:  Develops the "all-weather Interceptor," an electronic weapons control system with a combined radar set and computer, capable of finding and destroying enemy planes day and night and in any sort of weather.

    • 1950-1956:  Conceives and manufactures the "air-to-air missile," which seeks out its target and then locks in through a fail-proof system of radio impulses. Deadly and quick this guided missile was considered to be the most important contribution to the defense of North America since radar.

    • 1950-1956:  Invents, then mass produces, the navigational control system for the F-102 interceptor—the backbone of American Air Defense Strategy in the fifties and sixties.

    • 1959-1964:  Revolutionizes the nations wartime helicopter capability through $440 million in government contracts. Builds the TH55A helicopter—the forerunner of maneuverable choppers for battle conditions.

    • 1960s:  Pioneers and produces the unmanned satellite prototypes, virtually clearing the way for the onset of todays satellite era.

    • DECEMBER 14, 1973: Inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. Officials there hoped that the elusive Hughes would show up to accept the honor, but he instead sent Ed Lund, the only other surviving member of the 1938 around-the-world flight.


    • Source: the best book on Hughes, Howard Hughes - The Untold Story (The life that inspired Martin Scorsese's The Aviator)









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