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Howard Hughes

 

 

Designer

Airline Executive

1905 - 1976

Howard Hughes was born at Houston, Texas on December 24, 1905. He began flying at age 14, manifesting exceptional piloting skills. In 1924 he inherited Hughes Tool Company and soon thereafter began the transition that developed it into a corporate conglomerate that eventually produced aircraft, electronics, and space vehicles. In the early 1930's he established Hughes Aircraft Company and with it, designed his first aircraft, the H-1 racer. This aircraft established a world record of 352 miles per hour in 1935.

On January 19, 1937, Hughes piloted his H-1 to a new transcontinental U.S. speed record of 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds. In 1938, Hughes flew a modified Lockheed 14 to a round-the-world record of 91 hours and 17 minutes.

Subsequently, Hughes bought Transcontinental and Western Airlines and proposed the fifty-passenger Constellation that cruised above 25,000 feet, at speeds of 300 miles per hour.

On November 2, 1947, Hughes flew his mammoth eight-engined flying boat, the world's largest airplane, for a short distance, in rebuttal to critics who predicted that it would never fly.

Howard Hughes established many aviation records receiving many prestigious awards including the Octave Chanute Award, the Collier Trophy and, twice the Harmon Trophy. In 1941, he received a special Congressional Medal for his 1938 around-the-world flight.

Howard Hughes' aviation career epitomized the courage and daring required to surpass existing limits, the technical expertise to produce innovative and vastly improved designs, and the business acumen to build a world-wide airline network.

Invested 1987 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame


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