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Spruce Goose The Biggest Plane Ever Built?  
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 13263 times:

I was watching an episode of Wings last night on Discovery channel and they said the Spruce Goose was the largest plane ever built. It was even bigger than the upcoming A3XX, and was the first plane to use hydraulics for flight controls. I find it amazing that something like that could be built in the 30's. It only ever flew once though due to lack of customers. Was Spruce Goose bigger than even the AN-124?

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6705 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 13199 times:

It had the longest wingspan, and it might be the tallest. Probably not the largest in any other respect.

User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 13198 times:

It depends on how you measure "big". My preference and a generally accepted way is by maximum takeoff weight. In this catagory, and many many others, the An-225 is the winner by a long shot.

User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 13181 times:

The Spruce Goose was actually built in the 40s. Its first (and only) flight was in 1947.

By the time it flew though, it had really passed its projected use - as a sort of "airborne landing craft" to land tanks, men and material on distant shores in (presumeably) the Pacific islands. That would've been interesting to see.



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7737 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13120 times:

It was more of a flying lumber yard than an actual plane. I still question whether the plane could really fly, as Howard Hughes only had it skimming the waves for a short while before putting it down.


Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineCanadianNorth From Canada, joined Aug 2002, 3387 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13093 times:

I thought that the Antonov 225 was the worlds largest...

CanadianNorth



What could possibly go wrong?
User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5953 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13080 times:

Where is the Goose now?


Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13070 times:

Official Designation: An-225 Mriya
NATO Code Name: Cossack
U.S. Counterparts: Lockheed C-5 Galaxy (1968) and Boeing 747 SCA (1977)
Primary Role: Massive strategic airlift (designed to transport the Soviet space shuttle, Buran)
National Origin: Ukraine
Manufacturer: Antonov Design Bureau
Wingspan: 290 feet (88.4m)
Length: 275 feet, 7 inches (84m)
Height at Tail: 59 feet, 5 inches (18.1m)
Cargo Hold Length: 142 feet (43.32m);
Width: 21 feet (6.4m);
Height: 14 feet, 4 inches (4.39m)
Armament: None
Engines: Six ZMKB Progress Lotarev D-18T turbofans
Thrust: 51,590 pounds (229.50kN) per engine
Cruise Speed: 497 mph (800km/h) est.
Max Speed: 528 mph (850km/h) est.
Range (w/ max payload): 2,425 nm (4,500km)
Range (w/ max fuel): 8,310 nm (15,400km)
Service Ceiling: Unknown
Operating Weight: Unknown
Max Payload:
(internal or external) 551,150 pounds (250,000kg)
Max Takeoff Weight 1,322,750 pounds (600,000kg)
Basic Crew: Seven
Date Deployed: 1989
Total in Service: 1 aircraft



Official Designation: HK-1 (H-4) Hercules Flying Boat
Unofficial Nicknames: The Spruce Goose, Flying Lumberyard
Primary Role: Military transport
National Origin: USA
Original Contractor: Hughes Aircraft Company
Wingspan: 320 feet
Wing Area: 11,430 square feet
Length: 218 feet, 6 inches
Height at Tail: 80 feet
Tailspan: 113 feet, 6 inches
Height of Fuselage: 30 feet, 6 inches
Width of Fuselage: 24 feet, 5 inches
Volume of Cargo Hold: 165,000 cubic feet
Armament: None
Engines: Eight Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radials (largest radial reciprocating engines ever built)
Horsepower: 3,000 shp each
Propellers: Eight four-bladed Hamilton Standards with a diameter of 17 feet, 2 inches (the four inboard propellers have reverse pitch capability)
Cruise Speed: (est.) 175 mph
Max Speed: (est.) 218 mph
Range (est.): 3,000 miles (flew one mile during first and only flight)
Service Ceiling (est.): 20,900 feet
Gross Weight: 400,000 pounds
Max Payload: 130,000 pounds
Total Cost: $40 million
First Flight: 2 November 1947
Total Produced: One aircraft



... There, a straight-up comparison.



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13067 times:

The Goose is in the Evergreen Aviation Museum.

http://www.sprucegoose.org



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13030 times:

I wonder why Hughes didn't take it up any higher than 70 feet? He must not have trusted the aircraft because it had never been flight tested before.

User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7737 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13009 times:

Well Hughes was nuts, but maybe not THAT nuts.


Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineIMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6260 posts, RR: 34
Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 12905 times:

All questions of the original post have been answered above.

Whether it ever "really" flew is another matter. Think "Glomar Explorer" on that matter. It wasn't always in the "Disney Dome" you know.

[Edited 2003-09-12 06:58:46]


Is grammar no longer taught is schools? Saying "me and her" or some such implies illiteracy.
User currently offlineJMChladek From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 331 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 12829 times:

The plane didn't lift higher then 70 feet because Hughes was essentially taking it on a high speed taxi test. So he didn't announce that he was going to do it and the plane wasn't really set up for a true test flight. Hughes was a bit eccentric, but in this case it seems to be a matter of proving his point that it would fly in such a way that if anyone from the FAA asked him that he planned to fly it deliberately, he could cover his butt and say no, that the plane got airborne during the taxi test is all.

I personally like the Hughes reference in "The Rocketeer" when Cliff escapes the FBI by hanging under a scale model of the HK-1 and gliding it out of the hangar. Pretty silly, but a cool movie.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29690 posts, RR: 59
Reply 13, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 12819 times:

That is the version I heard.

Everybody on the flight deck had been briefed that it was only going to be a high speed taxi test, but about a third of the way down the run Howard asked for the first notch of flaps and the rest is history.

Frankly I think it was a completely intentional unapproved flight.


Don't forget that it wasn't long after that, Howard really came close to killing himself when he crashed his F-10 photo reconnaissance aircraft. A lot of people think that the crash caused brain injuries that led to his madness in later life.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 12760 times:

Was the Spruce Goose ever going to be a passenger aircraft ? If so, how many pax, what sort of accomodations. Bearing in mind that in those days the flying boats were pretty luxurious anyway, I imagine that the Spruce Goose would have been spectacular !

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29690 posts, RR: 59
Reply 15, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 12742 times:

Well it probably could have been but it was never designed for that.

It was designed to be a military transport, much like the Martin Mars series.

At the time the Kreigsmarine where giving us a hell of a time with the U-Boat Wolfpacks decimating convoys. Oddly enough torpedo's generally don't affect aircraft so the idea was to create a couple of very large seaplanes that could move high priority cargo across the pond without the worry about it ending up at the bottom of said pond.

The war ended before either design could be produced, I belive Martin only built 4 Mars Boats, two of which as still used as tankers in B.C. The HK-1 only flew the one time.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineArrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2675 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 12651 times:
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Those two Martin Mars have been active 7 days a week up here for the last two months saving our butts (or at least trying) in the worst forest fire season ever recorded. Several times, I've watched them fly overhead in the early evening on their way back to Sproat Lake for maintenance before they trundle back into the Interior again the next day for another go at it.

They are amazing aircraft.




Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
User currently offlineGr8slvrflt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1592 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 12573 times:

I know it's not an airplane per se but the LZ-129 Hindenburg and her sister ship, the LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin II were both 804 feet long. An even larger ship, the unnamed LZ-131, was to have been 863 feet long!

User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24630 posts, RR: 86
Reply 18, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 12565 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

A question:

Does anyone know if the Spruce Goose was bigger than the Princess flying boat?

TIA

cheers

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineGr8slvrflt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1592 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12516 times:

Saunders & Roe Princess:

Wingspan - 220 feet
Length - 148 feet
Height - 56 feet
Max. TO Weight - 330,000 pounds
Range - 5,270 miles


User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12500 times:

DesertJets:

Actually, the Goose reached an altitude of 70 feet and flew for several hundred yards. This is not to say I believe it could have gone any higher or farther, 'cause frankly I don't know that, but it did take to the air.

I think the real reason Hughes took the HK-1 to the air was to make sure he got paid for building it.

L-188:

Oddly enough torpedo's generally don't affect aircraft

I'm still laughing at that one...

I frequently wonder why the Navy doesn't build high-speed hydroplanes or surface-skimming "ground effect" lifting bodies to avoid those torpedos... At least then all they have to worry about is missiles, which can be intercepted.

Also, I think the Goose could have been used as an airliner if it had seen action during the war. It was designed, after all, to carry hundreds of troops and/or heavy cargo. Of course, flying boats were on their way out at the end of the war, but an HK-1 becoming operational in, say, 1944 and proving itself the way the C-54 (DC-4) and C-69 (L-649) did might have produced some orders from Pan Am, BOAC, or one of the other long-distance international carriers.



Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 21, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 12406 times:

I think the real reason Hughes took the HK-1 to the air was to make sure he got paid for building it.

Well, if that's the case.... he lost on that bet. He spent much of his own money to complete the plane - after Kaiser pulled out and the military R&D money dried up, that is.

He never did get repaid the money he spent to build the Spruce Goose.



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineJMChladek From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 331 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 12362 times:

The problem with hydroplanes and ground effects craft is that they are somewhat limited in overall size and capability. Hydrofoils require a certain speed to work, and even then you still have a parts in the ocean and it would be bad if a torpedo hit one anyway. Ground effects craft can be made larger, but they need to carry more engines and burn higher grade fuels then a typical ship. They are great for fast deployment of cargo and troops, but not that much else. BTW, the USMC and USN do operate one hovercraft system for fast deployment of forces and it works very well for that. Modern Naval fleets have pretty good protection against subs that even if a sub did manage to launch one torpedo on a target, chances are it wouldn't get a chance to fire a second before getting clobbered by ASW forces. Also the ships are pretty well designed to minimize damage from torpedoes, unless they are nuclear and all bets would be off anyway if that happened.

User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12244 times:

I still question whether the plane could really fly, as Howard Hughes only had it skimming the waves for a short while before putting it down.

For a landplane, you're right -- staying in ground effect does not imply something can fly. But for a seaplane, the most difficult thing, by far, is actually breaking loose of the water. Any seaplane that can get airborne will easily fly outside ground effect.

I can't fathom a sure guess why Hughes didn't go for a spin over downtown. He was an odd character (although a great pilot), for sure.

Some of the things that may have gone through his head:

1) CYA with the FAA (but, then again, he was Howard Hughes. Like he couldn't have dealt with that?)

2) He didn't want to expose a crew that hadn't agreed to the risk of flying to that danger (but then again, it wasn't like he had a planeful of children on board. And he was fairly selfish)

3) He just didn't like the handling of the aircraft and decided not to fly it farther.

4) He thought aliens would abduct him if he flew higher than 70 feet.  Smile

Steve


User currently offlineVanguard737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 680 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (10 years 7 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 12171 times:

The Sproose Goose is nice, but I find the Messerschmitt Me-323 of WW2 to be much more amazing. It was smaller, yes, but still impressive. It was powered by six Gnome Rhone Engines and had a Max T/O Weight of 94,815 pounds! Impressive for that era! It could even transport medium sized German tanks or 120 fully equipped troops! Also, it was mass produced, which the Sproose Goose wasn't.
Take a look at it here: www.www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/me323.html



320 717 722 732 733 735 737 738 744 752 753 763 772 DC9 DC10 MD80 B1900 S340 E120 ERJ CRJ CR7
User currently offlineAlessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 25, posted (10 years 7 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 12151 times:

Well, I think it only flew because of the ground effect, like the Dornier Do-X.
The most amazing thing about the Spruce Goose is the hydrualics.
Worlds largest cargo bay on an airplane is the Airbus Beluga, An-225 got the
heaviest load ever lifted.....




[Edited 2003-09-15 23:35:15]

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