Talk:Hughes H-4 Hercules

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Designed for Ground Effect?[edit]

IMO the Spruce Goose was build to fly at low altitude using ground effect. Ericd 22:49, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sort of. The Spruce Goose was supposedly designed for flight at 5000 feet[1], which is definitely "low altitude flight", but still waaaay too high for ground effect. -- Kaszeta 14:30, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've seen some suggestions that extreme-range flying was intended to be in ground effect, but I'm pretty sure it was designed to be capable of flying higher than that.
Hughes' eccentricity and secrecy mean we really don't seem to know much about what made him never fly the plane again yet have it kept in flying condition until the day he died. —Morven 17:32, Nov 3, 2004 (UTC)
The Soviet Union designed a number of airplanes to fly strictly in the ground-effect zone. The airplanes all had a number of features in common: stubby wings with surprisingly long chord lengths, fins on the wingtips to prevent the air underneath from spilling out the sides, and engines out in front of the wing that aim the exhaust to pass under the wing. The Spruce Goose has none of these. --Carnildo 23:22, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that the purpose of the plane to avoid submarine attacks and the war conditions made that it was designed to flight most of the time in ground effect, a very interresting choice reguarding fuel consumption that the Russian have since used on Ekranoplans.

While I can't imagine what's in another brain (and especially Hughes' brain)IMO Hughes believed that the Spruce Goose concept could be effective again in war conditions especially with newer engines. But maybe it I'm wrong and it was just sentimental.... Ericd 20:39, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Please read this Ericd 20:44, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm fairly certain that ground effect was not well enough understood at the time of the H4's design and construction to have been taken into account. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Engineering innovations[edit]

It married a soon-to-be outdated technology—flying boats—to a massive airframe that required some truly ingenious engineering innovations. Does anyone know what some of these innovations were? -Willmcw 19:46, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I have no real knowledge of the topic, but I remember hearing that this was the frist aircraft to use hydrolics in the control mechanism. Can anyone confirm this? 21:32, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I have seen the H4, and yes, there are a lot of innovations in the aircraft. The way the engine instruments were laid out, was a first. The cockpit instrumentation layout was a first. The use of reporting instrumentation (strain gauged, etc) was a first. The side stick controller (for use when the AC was trimmed up and flying) was a first. The list goes on and one, the AC was so large and required so much attention to be flown, that there were a lot of innovations, and modern cockpit layout in modern commercial aircraft was heavily influenced by the H4's design.

Also, not mentioned in the article is that during the one flight, the H4 experienced significant vibration in the tail assembly. If you look at the current pictures of the H4, versus those from its flight, you will see that the tail assembly is reinforced to deal with that vibration. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Another nickname[edit]

During the nearly thirty years that Hughes had this airplane maintained in its hangar, very few people were ever allowed to see it. The hangar personnel called the plane the "Jesus Christ", because, on the rare occasions when someone was allowed inside the hangar, he would take about six steps, and the crew could point to the spot where he would stop and say, "Jesus Christ!" It has, after all, one and a half times the wingspan of a Boeing 747. 03:57, 2 November 2005 (UTC)


Is that a real photo, or a screenshot from the movie "Aviator"? Just wondering, because I thought that helicopters (seen on the background) weren't that common in '47. If it's not a real photo, that should be stated in the decsription below the photo.

That's a real photograph. Helicopters weren't common, but they were present for the first flight of the H-4. Willy Logan 18:15, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Incidentally, Hughes Helicopters was formed in 1947 and became a major manufacturer of helicopters. -Willmcw 20:20, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Shouldn't we be showing the photo of it mid-air? I mean, it only flew once, so it's not like that was a daily occurrence. Viper007Bond 09:32, 16 October 2006 (UTC)


The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was the article was renamed. --Born2flie 22:37, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Shouldn't this article be 'Hughes H-4 Hercules', being the official name, with 'Spruce Goose' redirecting here? I mean, I guess technically speaking that is the class of plane, but since no others were produced, Hercules would be more accurate. Fëaluinix 11:01, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Almost nobody knows of it as the 'Hughes H-4 Hercules'. Everyone knows of it as the 'Spruce Goose'. --Carnildo 06:20, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
But the official name was the H-4 Hercules. Shouldn't we name the article after the official name of the plane instead of a derisive nickname its own creators detested? Willy Logan 18:14, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I would like to put it to a vote: Shall we rename this article to "Hughes H-4 Hercules"? While it was not called to a formal vote, above, there were three people above who voiced their opinion. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 01:21, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

  • No. If I were to ask a hundred people what the "Hughes H-4 Hercules" was, I'd get a hundred blank stares. If I were to ask a hundred people what the "Spruce Goose" was, most of them would mention something about a large airplane. --Carnildo 01:34, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I support the rename because I think that all articles about planes should have the primary title be the planes technical avionics name, with nicknames being redirects and prominantly mentioned in the introduction and throughout the article. --Jeff 01:16, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I too support the rename, its not like we want to prevent the Spruce Goose term from getting to this entry, but to emphasize the fact that this name is actually a nickname and not the actual name. The mere fact that the overwhelming majority of people know it only by this name should not dictate the name in an encyclopedia. With the advent of The Aviator I would expect more people to know (or be aware of) the Hercules name. In the end, my inclination is to be consistent with other aircraft, how many aircraft appear in Wikipedia under a derogative nickname? --Mac 08:01, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree, I think it should be called its proper name, and redirect from the nickname. Ben W Bell 08:04, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Also agree, though the standard seems to be rather difficult to maintain, since many aircraft have manufacturer designations, military designations, common names, and nicknames e.g. Grumman Albatross, Goose; OV-10 Bronco; A-10 Warthog. I would use the most common designation, in this case Hughes H-4 Hercules, with a redirect (as has been done here); most articles show the link as Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose") or less formally as Spruce Goose.--Justfred 23:24, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Dream Park (Book)[edit]

The "Spruce Goose" played an import role in the book "Dream Park". 20:31, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, but does "Dream Park" play an important role in the history of the Spruce Goose? --Carnildo 22:39, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

"Edsel of aviation"[edit]

I removed this from the lead. Firstly, because it's unsourced. Secondly, it doesn't sound like a very good comparison anyway - the Edsel was a fairly conventional vehicle and sold more units than any airliner ever has, whereas the Goose was very unusual, and was never even offered for sale. Googling "Edsel of aviation" only turns up one non-wiki hit, an article about autogiros. FiggyBee 08:05, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

I concur, that was the first time I had ever read or seen that nickname associated with the Hughes H-4. However, there is an obvious connection in that the popular notion of the Edsel as an automotive failure is well established. Despite every effort, the car was considered a marketing disaster, saddled with a clumsy "horse collar" radiator, dicey electrics (the push button transmission was problematic), lack of performance (heavy, wallowing characteristics) along with a price tag that placed it in the "luxury" class, that eventually doomed the type. FWIW Bzuk 15:04, 11 August 2007 (UTC).
Although the recession that hit the year the Edsel was introduced had as much to do with it as any of those. It was a bad year to be introducing a new semi-luxury brand, well-done or not. One must remember that the same recession killed off Chrysler's semi luxury De Soto brand as well, and that one was well established. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 07:44, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I also remove BF 109 from the lead. I have no idea how this could be related to this article and it is unsourced Andries 19:56, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

That was a typo. FWIW Bzuk 20:15, 13 August 2007 (UTC).

Not made of Spruce[edit]

Dispite the nickname Spruce Goose the Hughes H-4 Hercules was made of Birch. Shouldn't this be mentioned in the article? (talk) 22:52, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

See second paragraph: Bzuk (talk) 00:56, 27 December 2007 (UTC).

Surely the 'spruce' of the nickname means 'neat,tidy, of smart appearance'and hence has nothing whatsoever to do with what wood it's made of. I've refrained from deleting the sentence just in case there is a reference which clarifies this Sbonsor (talk) 23:15, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it's quite obvious it's a reference to it being made of wood, no matter the actual type, but a reference from a reliable source would be useful. Also, should we make mention of the fact the aircraft isn't a goose either? ;) - BilCat (talk) 00:00, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Load capacity[edit]

The article says the plane could hold 750 fully equipped troops or one Sherman tank. It would seem to me that one Sherman tank (66,000lbs) would be a pretty small load by comparison with the weight of 750 troops and their equipment (say 250lbs x 750= 187,500lbs). Searching the history, that figure was originally quoted at 2 Sherman Tanks. Is the one tank correct or did it get changed by someone and not noticed. I can't find any explanatory note when it got changed? I can find other references online quoting it at 2 tanks. Mfield (talk) 02:11, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

The figure of one Sherman tank was an actual quoted note from a reference source. I agree that the weight-carrying capability of the Hughes H-4 Hercules would far surpass this. Quote: "aircraft designed to carry 120,000 pounds of cargo, 750 combat-equipped troops or a 60-ton Sherman tank." (McDonald, John J. Howard Hughes and the Spruce Goose, 1981, p. 41.) (Oderkirk, Glenn E. Spruce Goose, 1982 p. 2 shows a single Sherman being off-loaded in a provisional illustration made during the design phase.) In every other source that I checked, there is only mention of the capability of carrying 750 troops. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 12:45, 7 May 2008 (UTC).
A 60-ton Sherman tank would weigh 120,000 pounds, so the aircraft could only carry one of them. Now, the actual weight of a Sherman according to our article is about 66,000 pounds, so either that's one seriously overweight tank, or someone messed up the conversion between pounds and tons. --Carnildo (talk) 19:20, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
An M-4 Sherman weighs 33.4 tons according to multiple sources. Mfield (talk) 19:35, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Maybe it means that the H-4 couldn't carry TWO Sherman tanks, since two Shermans (2 x 67 000 lb each = 134 000 lb) weigh more than the maximum load (120 000 lb). It would then mean that with one Sherman aboard, it could take a further 53 000 lb payload AadaamS (talk) 19:48, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

It may be a problem of the ratio of weight to surface area: a large load could be carried if distributed throughout the fuselage but could not be carried if concentrated in a small (tank-sized) location. Drutt (talk) 00:39, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Alternatively, it might mean a single Sherman with ammunition, fuel, crew, spare parts, and other trimmings, not just the vehicle itself. -Toptomcat (talk) 01:40, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Template or just me?[edit]

I was able to improve the appearance of the characteristics template, but only by fudging the propellers line...evidently the "each" is a part of the template and may require modification. My intent was to get the two separate headings on proper lines (General and Peformance).-- dfoofnik —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:24, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Date of Move to Oregon[edit]

This article states that the H-4 was moved from Long Beach to Oregon in 1990. However, the article for the Evergreen Aviation Museum where it currently is states it was in 1992. I will look into the matter, but if anyone else has info it could help. ( (talk) 05:44, 23 October 2008 (UTC))

IIRC, the decision was made in '90, but the plane remained inside the dome in Long Beach until '92. Here's one source --, published in 1992. (talk) 02:13, 2 November 2008 (UTC)


Can we link to the colour film of the successful test flight (cockpit view) that's on Youtube at [[2]]? (talk) 15:13, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

The Spruce Goose played a major part in the old animated TV special, "Yogi Bear and the Spruce Goose". Dont know if anyone cared to add that at all. -- (talk) 20:56, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Seems a bit esoteric, not really a good example of how the Spruce Goose affected popular culture and vice versa. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 21:22, 29 March 2009 (UTC).


Popular culture area needs mention of Simpsons episode where a reference is made to a similar plane made by Mr. Burns for the Nazis. Also that rain made the plane catch fire. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Pleeaze! no more cruft. Bzuk (talk) 04:59, 26 April 2009 (UTC).
Ok, so what makes the Simpson's episode cruft but not the Yogi Bear movie? Is it ok when a whole MOVIE is about it but not when a whole EPISODE is about it? And why can't we compromise on this? Clearly since other people (like the starter of the topic here and the other person that undid it yesterday) consider it important. Why can't we compromise Bil and maybe shorten the Simpsons and Phineas and Ferb part to one line? How many people does it take until it is more than a "small population of enthusiastic fans?" --Phil5329 (talk) 23:39, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I think you missed my point--Phil5329 (talk) 00:02, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
A single episode is not considered notable and the Simpsons series has lampooned everything which makes it a breeding ground for fanboys. This article did keep a small mention that ballooned to many different animated series added in and on and on. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 03:02, 11 September 2009 (UTC).
Well the thing is I don't even disagree with you guys in general. I see the cruft (what an ugly word) everywhere. But on this one subject, this one time, you guys are wrong. But it is not that important so I am moving on.--23:16, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
As explained previously, a brief Simpson's episode mention was originally left in the "Popular culture" section but it simply was an enticement to load up the section with more obscure references to other Spruce Goose references in animated cartoons and other media. That was still the issue all along, the submissions represented minor and fleeting use of the Spruce Goose and were essentially unnecessary, so eventually they all went by the wayside. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 13:53, 12 September 2009 (UTC).

Duramold - licensed from Fairchild, not a hughes invention[edit]

The page

seems to contradict the claim that hughes invented duramold - the alternative claim is that Fairchild aviation acquired the process.

This suggests that footnote #1 is incorrect —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikip rhyre (talkcontribs) 20:36, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I did check the original source and it had indicated that the Hughes Corporation were the inventors of the process. More investigation is needed, but I tend to agree with the above posting. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 16:52, 15 July 2009 (UTC).

Article name (again)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Clear concensus not to move the page. - BilCat (talk) 00:29, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Several years ago, there was some discussion (above) about this article's title. But I think the decision made was not quite right, at least with the current standards delineated at WP:COMMONNAME. The name most commonly used in English language reliable sources should be used for the article title; and I believe that would be "Spruce Goose." This Googlefight result illustrates which title is more common according to Google search results:

Results on Google Books are even more lopsided: 196 hit for "Hughes H-4 Hercules" and over 6,700 for "Spruce Goose."

I think this article should be moved back to Spruce Goose. Any objections? -Pete (talk) 21:27, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

STRONG OPPOSE. The name "Spruce Goose" is a moniker made up in the media and never, repeat, never was used with the aircraft either by Hughes or his company. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 22:42, 2 January 2011 (UTC).
Oppose it is just a slang name a bit like moving Boeing 747 to Jumbo Jet. MilborneOne (talk) 22:55, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Rename. It doesn't matter the name is "made up" or "slang" if it's the common name it. We are here to echo usage, not correct people by forcing it to be named academically. The reality is there are many more hits in google and in books for "spruce goose". tedder (talk) 15:01, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Oppose WP:COMMONNAME isn't a club to force the most common name to be used in all cases. This is both an aircraft type article and an indiviual aircraft article, but "Spruce Goose" wasn't the actual name of the individual aircraft in the sense of Enola Gay. That leaves only the type name for the article's title. Also, there is a caveat in the policy which states "ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more common". I think that would apply here, as the aircraft was neither made of spruce, nor a goose. :) - BilCat (talk) 15:31, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm having trouble seeing how the caveat applies other than for pedantic or WP:IAR reasons. Sure, it wasn't spruce or a goose, but the Enola Gay wasn't really the airman's wife, either. tedder (talk) 16:32, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
It's just to show that there are exceptions to the guideline, along with a bit of humor to lighten my mood. Again, it's not a club to force the common name to be used. In this case, "Hughes H-4 Hercules" is the name of the aircraft type, and it's a perfectly reasonable name for the article. - BilCat (talk) 16:53, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Oppose. I would keep it neat and follow the same convention as for all other articles on aircraft types. Spruce Goose appears in bold in the first line of text anyway, so it's clear from the start that "Hughes H-4 Hercules" and "Spruce Goose" are the same thing. --Giuliopp (talk) 01:00, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Oppose Most aircraft names on WP are "Manufacturer Model ManufacturerName", the optional ManufacturerName being the name given by the manufacturer - ref List_of_seaplanes_and_amphibious_aircraft. The H-4 Hercules was planned to be a production aircraft type. "Spruce Goose" was a derogatory nickname assigned by the press, that happened to stick. "Enola Gay" was the title or "given name" for a specific airplane, just as "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" were the given code names for the specific bombs - this aircraft had no given name AFAIK. --Justfred (talk) 17:30, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Leverage s5e1 - another notable appearance in the media?[edit]

The Spruce Goose also appeared in Leverage s5e1. (talk) 02:11, 29 September 2012 (UTC)