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Airplanes of The Aviator

The gigantic scale airplanes of the Hughes XF-11, H1 Racer and Spruce Goose used for the movie The Aviator. Designed and built by Joe Bock and the Aero Telemetry team in less than 3 months, these beautiful scale models were filmed for the flying sequences for the film.

Wright R-3350 Radial Engine Run

This vintage aircraft engine is from a Howard Hughes owned Lockheed Constellation. It was removed from the plane in the 1960's and stored at a museum. This video captures the first start of this 3500HP engine after more than 50 years.

Spruce Goose Flights

Click here to see the video of our Spruce Goose model in flight.

Our beautiful Spruce Goose model airplane flew several times over two days in the Long Beach Harbor. The first test flight took place at 3:08pm on the afternoon of Sunday November 23, 2003.

Spruce Goose Motors

Because of the constaints of not being able to start a gas engine in the water (easily) or being allowed to have anything protruding our of the engine nacelles, it was decided that electric motors would have to power the huge model.

Spruce Goose Design & Build

Spanning almost 25 feet, the Spruce Goose wing was constructed mainly from wood. Spruce and Finnish Birch, were the primary components and balsa was used for the leading edge. The main inner spar was machined out of 3/8 thick aluminum plate with lightning holes and designed to act as an I-Beam style spar. Hexcell caps were added to the spar for superior strength and flexibility.

Spruce Goose History

 

Howard Hughes began building the Spruce Goose or H4 Hercules as it was originally named in the early 1940’s.  It was to be a large transport plane for the US military.  Because of wartime restrictions on raw materials, Mr. Hughes was unable to use metals such as aluminum to construct the H4’s enormous structure.  Instead he chose to build the giant plane out of wood.