Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ed's Excellent Adventure

The Arrival

Ed arrived a little ahead of schedule at Portland International Airport.

He arrived on a Alaska Air Flight. I love the symbol on the tail.

The Adventure

After a few days of orientation Sharyn decided on a trip to McMinnville and the Evergreen Air Museum - home of the Hercules designed and flown by Howard Hughes and better known as the "Spruce Goose."

There are lots of interesting things at the museum and the day we went some automobile enthusiasts had come as a group driving some great old cars.

This is a Douglas C-47 "Skytrain" - Our "boys" loved the pinup images on these planes. They were brave soldiers that were transported and dropped from this airplane and others like it at Normandy.
Span: 95 ft. 0 in.
Length: 64 ft. 5 in.
Height: 16 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 33,000 lbs. loaded
Armament: None
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830s of 1,200 hp. ea.
Crew: Six

I think about the history and that I was only 1 year old when these young men risked and in some cases gave their lives so we could live in peace.

With the grey "Hercules" in the background this Curtis small craft stands out with it's bright yellow and orange paint job.

Of course the main attraction is the huge HK-1 Hercules (Spruce Goose)

Aircraft Type:

Cargo Prototype

First Flight:

November 1947


319 feet 11 inches


218 feet 8 inches


79 feet 4 inches


300,000 pounds


18 Crew, 750 troops



The Hughes Flying Boat represents one of man’s greatest attempts to conquer the skies as the largest airplane ever constructed. It flew only one time on November 2, 1947. Conceived as a personnel and materiel carrier, the single hull prototype was designed to fly Trans-Atlantic to avoid World War II German submarines that were sinking Allied ships in large numbers. Completed in 1947 after the end of the War, the wooden winged giant is nearly six times bigger than any aircraft of its time. The press insisted on calling the Hughes Flying Boat the “Spruce Goose,” a name that its billionaire builder Howard Hughes despised. Most of the huge plane is actually made of birch, with only small amounts of maple, poplar, balsa, and, yes, spruce. Birch was chosen because testing proved it light, strong, and resistant to splitting, dry rot and deterioration.

The interior is fascinating looking from near the front to the rear of the plane.

I don't know the names of all the planes in the museum and this picture was taken by Ed using my other digital camera This bi-plane is a georgeous example of restoration.

Ed especially like this Gee Bee R1 sportster.

"The R-1 and R-2 were very soundly constructed aircraft. The structures were stress analyzed by Pete Miller, he stressed the entire aircraft for 12 Gs positive. After extensive research and testing the R-1 and R-2 were built. Only the best materials were used and workmanship was incredible. The wings were covered with mahogany plywood and then covered again in with "balloon-fabric" for more strength. The fuel caps were now enclosed inside the fuselage and the windscreen was constructed of 3-layered shatterproof glass.

Perhaps the most unusual feature was the pilot position just ahead of the vertical fin. With a fuselage of just 17 ft. 9in. in length an extreme aft location for the cockpit was necessary to balance the engine and Smith adjustable propeller up front. The R-1 and R-2 were considerably larger than the previous model Z: wing span, 25ft.length, 17ft.9in.wing area, 100 sq.ft. empty weight, 1,840 LB; with 160 gal of fuel and 18 gal for oil."

Sharyn and Ed were the sign readers learning so much about the planes I couldn't keep up.
But Howard Hughes didn't just conceive of the Hercules he also designed the dinghy shown here.

To giv an idea of size this is a TitanII missile laying next to the Hercules.

...And a SR-71 "Blackbird" beneath the wing.

Another nice pinup under some wicked looking armament.

Tail gunner pod... a dangerous place to fly when in war.
The beautiful and dangerous Carolyn.

This is not really the "Ruthless II" Corsair flown by Oscar Chenoweth but a gullwing Corsair once flown by the El Salvador air force. That plane is shown with the onboard markings of pilot Oscar Chenoweth of Salem, and it’s called “Ruthless II” Chenoweth’s wife, Ruth, divorced him while he was overseas. (Info from the Portland Tribune)

Both of these Spitfires are pretty cool.

One of the fabled "Flying Tigers" Note taken from the USAF online museum

"In Burma, Claire L. Chennault, a retired Air Corps major who had served as special advisor to the Chinese Air Force since 1937, formed the American Volunteer Group (A.V.G) nicknamed the Flying Tigers. The unit consisted of approximately 100 pilots and 200 groundcrew personnel (most of whom had been released from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines to volunteer for the A.V.G.) and was equipped with obsolescent P-40b airplanes."

The P-38 Lightning - Ed took a picture of this wonderful plane.
The Lightning designed by Lockheed engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and his team of designers, represented one of the most radical departures from tradition in American fighter development. The Lightning was a complete break-away from conventional airframe design, power, and at long last, armament. Not only did it have twice the power and almost twice the size of its predecessors, but with no less than four .50 cal. machine guns plus a 20 mm cannon, the P-38 had enough firepower to sink a ship--and sometimes did. Concentrated in the central fuselage pod, the guns fired parallel which eliminated a need for a propeller synchronizer.

The Lightning tricycle landing gear and twin-boom configuration completed the list of major deviations from what might he considered conventional Army fighters. In this respect, it was very unusual that the Lightning design progressed beyond the testing stage; such radical concepts seldom achieved production status. But the simple fact was that the P-38 design worked and the Army seemed to have found its dream plane in this 400 mph fighter."

(information from
Finally Ed tried to start this biplane and fly back to our home in Eugene.

No Scrabble

Quote of the Day ~

"I have a feeling that there is just about one more good flight left in my system and I hope this trip is it. Anyway when I have finished this job, I mean to give up long-distance "stunt" flying."

~ Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) lost while flying at 40 years old

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It looks like a great place to be, with all them historic planes n' everything.

Can you post more aeroplane pictures soon..

Quite an exciting adventure you had there...


©Paul Viel