Title: Hughes H-4 Spruce Goose

The largest flying boat ever built, and still the aircraft with the largest wing-span, the HK-1 (also known as the H-4) was designed during the WW2 years as a large capacity transport aircraft when U-boats were taking a heavy toll on trans-Atlantic shipping. The aircraft was largely the brainchild of Howard Hughes and was intimately tied to his life and mental state.

Designed largely of wood to conserve strategic materials (actually Birch, not Spruce as the name suggests), the construction of the aircraft suffered endless delays such that it was obsolete before it was completed. Hughes was subjected to considerable scrutiny for alleged misuse of government funds on the aircraft and was
determined to prove the critics wrong. During supposed taxi trials in November 1947 Hughes lifted the aircraft off Long Beach harbour and flew for a mile at an altitude of about 70 feet. It was the only time the aircraft flew.

Following cancellation of the government contract the aircraft was carefully maintained in flying condition until Hughes’ death in 1976. Since then it has been on display to the public, firstly at Long Beach and lately at McMinnville in Oregon.

This title contains a copy of the very rare flight manual for the Spruce Goose.


This title contains:

  • Hughes Flying Boat Pilots Manual,  produced by the manufacturer Hughes Tool Company, Aircraft Division, with approx 164 pages.