EAA’s Attic — Spruce Goose Fragment

This piece originally ran in the February 2022 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.

As the largest flying boat ever built, the Hughes H-4 Hercules, commonly known as the Spruce Goose, was built by the Howard Hughes-founded Hughes Aircraft Co. and was intended as a trans-Atlantic transport for use during World War II, though it wasn’t completed until 1947 and flew only once. Pictured is a birch fragment from the airplane that was made using Duramold — a composite material process in which thin slices of wood are filled with resin and then laminated together in molds at high temperature and pressure. Although the airplane flew just the one time, Hughes kept it in airworthy condition for many years, employing 300 workers to maintain it in a climate-controlled hangar in Long Beach, California. The fragment is shown alongside a 1/200-scale model of the Spruce Goose, which was built from a kit.

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