Framework

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July 16, 1945: This is the wing of the Hughes Hercules, called by its builders the biggest plane in the world, nearing completion in the Hughes Aircraft Company plant in Culver City. The wing is 320 feet from tip to tip. This photo was published in the July 17, 1945, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John T. Burns / Associated Press

July 16, 1945: This is the hull of the Hughes Hercules, called by its builders the largest plane in the world, in construction at the Hughes Aircraft Co. plant at Culver City. The hull is 220 feet long, 30 feet high and 24 feet wide. The aircraft is now known as the Spruce Goose. This photo was published in the July 17, 1945, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John T. Burns / Associated Press

July 16, 1945: Two workmen stand in the interior of the hull of the Hughes Hercules seaplane, which will have a cargo space equivalent to that of two railroad boxcars when it is completed at the Hughes Aircraft Co. plant in Culver City. The aircraft is now known as the Spruce Goose.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John T. Burns / Associated Press

June 11, 1946: Police escort and movers pause under the wing of the Hughes Hercules. The wings were being moved from Culver City to Long Beach. This photo was published in the June 12, 1946, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

June 11, 1946: The wings of the Hughes Hercules aircraft sit in Hermosa Beach as the move is halted for a lunch break. This photo was published in the June 12, 1946, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 11, 1946: The wings of the Hughes H-4 Hercules aircraft, now known as the Spruce Goose, are moved from the Hughes Aircraft plant in Culver City to Long Beach. The move took two days as movers traveled at 2 mph. In Long Beach the aircraft was assembled and flown in 1947. This photo was published in the June 12, 1946, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 12, 1946: The right wing of Hughes H-4 Hercules, followed by left wing, rounds turn off Pacific Coast Highway onto Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach on its way to harbor. This photo was published in the June 13, 1946, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

June 12, 1946: The left wing of Hughes H-4 Hercules rounds turn off Pacific Coast Highway onto Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach on its way to harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

June 14, 1946: The hull of the Hercules leaves the Hughes Aircraft plant for overland trip to Long Beach. This photo was published in the June 15, 1946, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

Nov. 2, 1947: With Howard Hughes at the controls, the $25 million Spruce Goose flies above Los Angeles Harbor. A similar photo was published in the Nov. 3, 1947, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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1946 move of the Spruce Goose

The H-4 Hercules, a.k.a. Spruce Goose, was originally built in sections by Hughes Aircraft in Culver City. In June 1946, the wings, hull and other sections were transported to Terminal Island in Long Beach for final assembly.

The Times reported on June 12, 1946, that “each wing is 191 feet long, 49 feet wide at the root, and 19 feet high.” Each wing weighed 34 tons and was moved by Star House Movers Inc., “which got the $140,000 moving job.”

An article in the June 13, 1946, Los Angeles Times reported:

Inching carefully along a close-guarded route from which 2100 individual power and telephone lines had been raised or lowered to provide clearance, the two mammoth wing sections of the Hughes Aircraft Co.’s $20,000,000 flying boat H-4 last night completed “the biggest airplane moving job in history” – 28 miles from Culver City to Terminal Island….

The second day of the moving job, which began Tuesday, wound up without mishap and somewhat ahead of schedule. Fifteen Los Angeles motorcycle officers headed by Lt. L. J. Fuller, and equal force from the California Highway Patrol led by Sgt. Clarence Martin, and details from half a dozen other cities and towns rode herd on the novel procession, which traveled two miles an hour.

The wings reached the mainland end of the Navy’s pontoon bridge spanning the Long Beach channel at 1 p.m. and halted until nightfall, when a high tide raised the structure to near-level with the approaches.

Before the wings could be moved across the bridge to their destination at the graving dock on the east end of Terminal Island, Navy workmen had to remove railings, signs and a post from the floating roadway. Following the wings were two pontoons held in a huge wood crate.

The airplane, built almost entirely of plywood, will weigh 200 tons. Powered by eight 3000-horsepower engines, it will exceed 200 miles an hour, carrying more than 60 tons of payload.

The hull section, reported by The Times to measure “220 feet in length, 30 feet high, 24 feet wide,” was moved on June 15 and 16, 1946. The Times covered the hull’s emergence from the Hughes Aircraft plant on June 15, but did not follow its move to Long Beach.

The assembled Spruce Goose, piloted by Howard Hughes, made one flight on Nov. 2, 1947. Today the aircraft is on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore.

4 Comments

  1. December 2, 2013, 8:16 pm

    Hello I lived in Lorraine in France and I sponsor a war correspondent died December 27th, 1945 during the Second World War. His name is JOHN T BURNS and I know that it worked on the time for ” Associated press “. I would have liked knowing if you had information concerning him in particular of a photo! Thank you in advance ADRIEN THIEBAUT

    By: Adrien THIEBAUT
  2. January 14, 2014, 6:08 am

    Adrien, please contact me as John T. Burns is a relative of my husband. We would be very interested in hearing of his time in France that you sponsored him. my email is dmsieve at aol dot com

    By: Dawn
  3. January 14, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Hello Adrien,
    John T. Burns is my grandfather. I have a lot of pictures of him and would love to talk to you. My email address is dpcv15@aol.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Dennis Sieve

    By: dpcv15
  4. February 3, 2014, 6:21 am

    I was standing with my father on the corner of Jefferson and Lincoln when they moved the parts up the hill towards Manchester.

    By: dew

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