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Friday, 30 June 2017

World’s largest plane rolled out


EVEN if you had been allowed to kick the
tyres as the world’s largest airplane was
rolled out for the first time Wednesday, it
might have taken you a while.

Stratolaunch — which is designed to
release rockets that will carry satellites
into space — has a 385-foot wingspan,
features six engines used by the Boeing
747, stands 50 feet tall and can carry
more than 500,000 pounds of payload.
And it has those 28 wheels.
The twin-fuselage aircraft, the baby
of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen,
was pulled out of its Mojave Air and
Space Port hangar in California to begin
fueling tests — the first of many ground
tests.
Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch’s chief
executive officer, said the goal is to have
a launch demonstration as early as 2019.
“Over the coming weeks and months,
we’ll be actively conducting ground and
flight line testing at the Mojave Air and
Space Port,” Floyd said in a statement.
“This is a first-of-its-kind aircraft, so
we’re going to be diligent throughout
testing and continue to prioritize the
safety of our pilots, crew and staff.”
Was the Spruce Goose a failure? –
Hughes — an ambitious Texas-born
businessman, engineer, film producer
and pilot — died in 1976 at age 70. Was
the Spruce Goose a failure? Depends on
whom you ask. Hughes proved it could
fly, but it was never officially certified.
Lawmakers hauled Hughes before a
congressional committee to explain why he
spent $22 million of taxpayer money on a
plane that only flew once. Hughes pointed
out that he had spent an additional $18
million of his own funds to develop the
plane.
Troop mover – The Spruce Goose was
designed to carry more than 700 troops
across the ocean as a way to avoid threats
from enemy submarines.
Big moves – In the early 1980s, the aircraft
became a tourist attraction when it was
moved from its hangar to a nearby dome
structure next to the docked luxury ocean
liner Queen Mary. In the 1990s the plane
was acquired by the Evergreen museum
for $500,000 and shipped up the West Coast
to Oregon by barge.
Bizarre giant: The Spruce Goose – More
than 66 years after it first flew, Howard
Hughes’ gigantic, wooden H-4 Hercules —
nicknamed the Spruce Goose — still has one
of the widest wingspans of any airplane: 320
feet. It’s housed at the Evergreen Aviation
& Space Museum, in McMinnville, Oregon.
Construction – At the time it was built,
the H-4 was the world’s largest airplane.
It had to be moved in sections from its
construction site on Los Angeles’ west side,
south to its Long Beach hangar.
Howard Hughes – Hughes, pictured
here in the plane’s pilot seat, flew the H-4
during its only flight. On November 2,
1947, off California’s Long Beach harbor,
the seaplane became airborne for about a
mile and reached an altitude of about 70
feet. Saying it needed more development,
Hughes stored it in a hangar and never let
it fly again.
Was the Spruce Goose a failure? – Hughes
— an ambitious Texas-born businessman,
engineer, film producer and pilot — died
in 1976 at age 70. Was the Spruce Goose
a failure? Depends on whom you ask.
Hughes proved it could fly, but it was
never officially certified. Lawmakers
hauled Hughes before a congressional
committee to explain why he spent $22
million of taxpayer money on a plane that
only flew once. Hughes pointed out that he
had spent an additional $18 million of his
own funds to develop the plane.
Troop mover – The Spruce Goose was
designed to carry more than 700 troops
across the ocean as a way to avoid threats
from enemy submarines.
Big moves – In the early 1980s, the aircraft
became a tourist attraction when it was
moved from its hangar to a nearby dome
structure next to the docked luxury ocean
liner Queen Mary. In the 1990s the plane
was acquired by the Evergreen museum
for $500,000 and shipped up the West Coast
to Oregon by barge.
Bizarre giant: The Spruce Goose – More
than 66 years after it first flew, Howard
Hughes’ gigantic, wooden H-4 Hercules —
nicknamed the Spruce Goose — still has one
of the widest wingspans of any airplane: 3

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