We follow several blogs and at times we read something we are very surprised to learn. For example, awhile back we read that another blogger had visited an air museum in Oregon that is the home of Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose”. The last we had known, the Spruce Goose was housed in a hangar in Long Beach, California. We were planning to check it out if we had traveled that way. But because of another’s blog we learned that it now is housed in the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, southwest from Portland. This is not exactly new news. The Spruce Goose was sold to the Evergreen Museum in 1992 and was transported there in 1993 and after a long restoration and reassembly was put on display in 2001.
For those who might not know, Spruce Goose is a nickname for an experimental heavy lift aircraft started during WWII to be constructed of materials non-essential for the war effort like aluminum. Hughes built most of the plane out of laminated wood materials. The Government put $18 million into the project and Hughes put $7 million of his own money into it as that was the only way for it to be finished as it wasn’t completed before the end of the war. The design even employed beach balls for buoyancy in the wings (it was a sea plane as there were no airfields long enough to take off and land it).
The wingspan is greater than the length of a football field. The overall size is similar to the largest transcontinental planes of today. Congress was becoming unhappy with Hughes over the money which had been spent for a plane which never flew during the war effort. After a hearing in Washington DC, he returned to California and flew the plane at about 70 feet of altitude for about a mile just to prove that it was airworthy. The plane never flew again even though Hughes maintained it in flight-ready condition for nearly another 30 years.
There are many other air and space craft in the Evergreen Museum, but the real star of the show is the Spruce Goose, a name Hughes reportedly detested. But then there also is a water park in the museum complex with a 747 mounted on the roof which is the launching pad for some the water slides.