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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. 

XF-11 Flights

Click here to see the video of our XF-11 model in flight.

The Aviator XF-11, like the H-1 Racer built by Aero Telemetry, was flown at two separate locations.  The first would be at the San Bernardino Airport on November 21, 2003, the second was almost 3 months later at Catalina Island 26 miles off the coast of California.

XF-11 Engine Testing

The XF-11 was powered by two twin cylinder 2-stroke drone engines modified to 273cc.  The starboard engine was additionally modified to turn in the opposite direction than the port engine. This gave the model additional stability about the Yaw axis.

Hours of testing each engine by the Aero Telemetry team helped make sure the engines would be operating at maximum power output during the flights.  The engines used fixed-pitch, counter-rotating propellers provided by the Tennessee Propeller Company.

XF-11 Landing Gear

Due to the sheer size of the XF-11 and the compressed schedule, the retractable landing gear needed to be built from scratch. Darrel Hofmann, Joe Bok, John Keefe, and Butch Fleck designed a system that included the main pivot structure, hydraulic actuators, and nitrogen filled struts, all powered by a 28VDC Parker Hannifan Oildyne Pump.

The flawless operation of the massive landing gear was a main contributor to the success of the Aero Telemetry XF-11 airplane.

The Hughes XF-11 Design & Build

The Aviator XF-11 replica designed and built by Aero Telemetry had a wingspan of almost 30 ft.  Because of its size and weight the model performed exactly as a full-size aircraft would and provided the cameras with spectacular, stunning, and realistic flight sequences.

The History of the Hughes XF-11

Howard Hughes XF-11 was a prototype reconnaissance aircraft made for the US military.  On July 7,1946 Hughes himself piloted the plane on its maiden flight.  After being airborne for over two hours, the starboard propellor began to fail and made the XF-11 pull violently to the right.  Hughes did all he could to save the crippled plane but, unfortunately ended up crashing and taking out three homes in the process.  The plane was destroyed and the crash nearly killed Howard Hughes.

H1 Racer Flights

Click here to see the video of the H1 in flight.

The H1's first flight was conducted at El Mirage Dry Lake Bed on Tuesday November 4, 2003. Due to the compressed schedule of the build (less than 3 weeks) several of the flight crew had spent the previous 40+ hours without sleep. They worked around the clock to get the plane ready for a deadline that couldn't be moved.

H1 Racer Landing Gear

 

Custom hydraulic landing gear were designed and fabricated for the 1/2 scale replica. Due to the compressed schedule, the gear had to designed, tested, and installed in less than 3 weeks.

H1 Racer Design & Build

The H1 Racer's wing not only had to be strong but also large enough to accommodate a custom set of hydraulic landing gear. 

Aero Telemetry used a 360cc, two-stroke, two-cylinder, 30hp engine to power the H1 Racer replica.  The engineers also designed a special exhaust system and modified the carburator to squeeze more power from it.