Click here to see the video of the Spruce Goose in flight.
The Spruce Goose 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.
On the actual film day, November 24, 2003, the airplane was loaded onto a barge and moved into a location that put it south of the Queen Mary and very close to the original "geodesic" hanger built by Howard Hughes to store the Spruce Goose. Several vintage Navy boats were moved into a position that would align them with the camera and the model's anticipated flight path. The Aero Telemetry H-4 Hercules made several breath-taking flights that day.
Part of the crew launched and recovered the huge model from a floating barge, while the flight crew were positioned on a vintage World War II US Navy Patrol boat that was moving at about 20 knots. Academy Award winning visual effect director, Rob Legato, filmed the amazing footage of the Spruce Goose as it passed by the stern of the PT boat to recreate the famous flight of the Spruce Goose.
In addition, a Bell Jet Ranger III helicopter with a nose-mounted, gyro-stabilized film camera, was airborne to shadow the huge model at close range. It provided additional aerial footage from several unique camera angles during the flight.
Billy Hemple was the pilot for the Aero Telemetry Spruce Goose. The Aero Telemetry version of the Hughes H4 Hercules flying boat performed several close flybys that were simply breathtaking to watch, and provided the film cameras with spectacular aerial shots.
As a fitting testimony to how instrumental the Aero Telemetry flyable models really were; shots of our H4 Hercules flying were featured in both the theatrical and television trailers for the movie The Aviator.
All of our flyable model airplanes were featured in the behind the scenes film, "A Life Without Limits, The Making of The Aviator".
The highest compliment we received for our work on The Aviator, was when the film flights of the Aero Telemetry H4 Hercules were featured in the short clips played during the introduction of the Best Picture Oscar nominees during the televised presentation of the 77th Academy Awards held on February 27, 2005 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California.
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