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Hughes H-4 Hercules ‘Spruce Goose’

New price USD 23 million (1947)

The Hughes H-4 Hercules was developed and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company as a prototype strategic airlift flying boat.


Full description

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Hughes H-4 Hercules ‘Spruce Goose’ Specifications

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1947 - 1947
New purchase price
USD 23 million (1947)

Aircraft performance

8x Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major
3,000 HP
Max Cruise Speed:
220 Kts
407 Km/h
Travel range:
2,600 Nm
4,815 Kilometers
Service Ceiling:
20,900 feet
Rate of Climb:

Weight & dimensions

Max Take Off Weight:
181,436 Kg
399,994 lbs
Max Payload:
68,000 Kg
149,913 lbs

Disclaimer: The information on this page may not be accurate or current. Never use it for flight planning or any other aircraft operation purposes. No warranty of fitness for any purpose is made or implied. Flight planning or any other aircraft operations should only be done using official technical information provided by the manufacture or official aviation authorities.

About the Hughes H-4 Hercules ‘Spruce Goose’

Dubbed “Spruce Goose” by the media, Hughes Aircraft’s H-4 Hercules was one of the largest airplanes ever built and the largest flying boat of the era. It was conceived as an airborne WWII military transport and could (in theory) ferry seven hundred and fifty troops or a couple of M4 battle tanks across the Atlantic.

The development of the H-4 was fraught with controversies. First was the decision to make the airplane out of birchwood due to wartime metal restrictions. Then the project was late and over budget. Howard Hughes, the owner of Hughes Aircraft, managed to get the airplane airborne 70 feet over Long Beach for around thirty seconds before making a smooth touchdown.

You can view the only Hughes H-4 Hercules built at Oregon’s Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

The Hughes H-4 Hercules wingspan was the largest of any aircraft since 1947 until it was surpassed by the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch airplane in 2019.

The H-4 Hercules was one of the largest aircraft ever made.

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