H-4 Hercules – Spruce Goose – Aircraft of the Month

H-4 Hercules 2.jpg

I recently got to see a very interesting documentary on moving the H4 Spruce Goose from California to Oregon on YouTube. I got to see this unique aircraft at the Evergreen Aviation Museum just outside of Portland Oregon, on a few days off from a company trip in 2014. https://www.evergreenmuseum.org/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_Aviation_%26_Space_Museum. If your into historic aircraft this Museum is one of the best in the country with the Smithsonian NASM in Washington DC, USAF Museum in Dayton Ohio & the EAA Museum in Oshkosh Wisconsin as peers and is well with the drive alone from any of the surrounding states.

When you see it in person its difficult to get the whole aircraft in one shot with out a wide angle lense

Much of the structure is actually laminated wood with grain direction for optimized strength and is a pre curser to modern composite aircraft structures. They have a few displays of some details of the construction methods along with a scale model of the aircraft under construction.

An ominous shot from a rear quarter view with a ME-262 and a FW-190 showing what this war bird would have been up against if it would have been operational in the war.

My personal thoughts on the aircraft with the context of seeing the 2004 movie the aviator and a few documentaries on Hughes is its a mix of a technology path finder paving the way to large aircraft structures and systems while being a tragedy for Hughes personal aviation career. He was never the same after this project.

Aircraft like his racer and XF-11 had fairly quick development times however the H4 flew 2 years after the end of the war it was supposed to support. Because the project was under a government contract with government funding it Aircraft like the Grumman albatross and Martin Mars Evolutionary and nature compared to the revolutionary H4. However this difference was not taken into account for the oversight, visibility and pressure.

This aircraft serves as a cautionary tale for any company or individual taking on a “huge leap task” with out proper technology development and stepping stones setup at the beginning. Crawl, walk, run marathon or sprint. This is hubris that has effected my self and have seen first hand at companies I’ve worked for.