Howard Hughes, one of the most mysterious men in America. He achieved the American dream by not only becoming wealthy but he also built an empire. A businessman, plane designer, movie producer, industrialist, was great in everything he focused in. Had and enormous wealth and intellect, and he also had achievement. He fortune with hard work in any job and with his great influential ideas.
Howard Robard Hughes Jr. was born in Houston, Texas on December 24, 1905. He was the son of Allene Gano Hughes and Howard Robard Hughes Sr., who invented the tri-cone roller bit which allowed rotary drilling for oil in previously inaccessible places. He also founded the Hughes Tool Company to commercialize this invention. Howard’s parents died when he was still a child; he inherited a considerable part of his father’s million dollar fortune. Howard’s goals as a child were to become the best golfer, the best pilot, and the best movie producer. Despite the fact that he attended great schools, he never got a diploma. His father arranged for him to attend math and engineering classes at the California Institute of Technology. Then he enrolled in the now-called Rice University.
Hughes is best known as an aviation genius, because of all of his the designs, ideas, and invention of airplanes. He is famous for the H-4 Hercules, also known as the “Spruce Goose”, and is also known because of his eccentric behavior. He set many world records while flying that seemed unreachable in his time. On September 13, 1935, he set a new speed record aboard his H-1 Racer by setting a speed of 566 km per hour, the previous record was 505 km per hour. This H-1 was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1975; now it is on display at the National Air and Space Museum.
On January 19, 1937, he set a trans-continental speed record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds. On 1938 he set a record by flying around the world in 3 days and 19 hours; the preceding record was more than four hours. Hughes also received many awards; some are: the Harmon Aviatrix Trophy (1936 and in 1938) which is given for the most outstanding international achievements, the Collier Trophy (1939) which is the most prestigious award in the aviation field, and the Octave Chanute Award (1940) which is given for engineering innovations.
Howard Hughes purchased Transcontinental and Western Air (T&WA) in 1939. This company grew along with his chairman Jack Frye. TWA broke Pan Am’s legal designation as the US sole international carrier, so TWA began transatlantic flights using the new Lockheed “Connie”, which was used as both a civilian airliner and U.S. military air transport plane. In 1950, the airline changed its name to Trans World Airlines (TWA), because it offered flying routes from Europe to all Asia until Hong Kong. Later with the Transpacific Route Case of 1969, TWA was able to fly in the Pacific Ocean too. TWA and Pan Am were the only U.S. airlines serving Europe.
One of Hughes’s most famous designs was the H-4 Hercules, also known as the Spruce Goose. This was a jumbo boat that flew; it was specially designed for carrying soldiers in a war. The idea was to use it in World War II, but unfortunately the Hercules was finished just after the end of the war. This plane was another satisfactory idea of Hughes, because it successfully flew once with Hughes in control.
This is why Howard had to testify against the Senate War Investigating Committee, but they failed to file a final report because the government didn’t permit planes made out of aircraft aluminum. So Hughes had to make the plane out of hard close-grained wood so he could accomplish his contract with the U.S. Government. This plane was on display next to RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California for many years, but now it is in McMinnville, Oregon where it is part of the Evergreen Aviation Museum.
On July 7, 1946, Hughes was flying a prototype plane of the US Army, made by him, when an oil leak changed the way a propeller had to work. The plane started to drop down and crashed in a Beverly Hills neighborhood. When the plane finally stopped, after destroying three houses, the fuel tanks exploded, setting fire to the plane and a close house.
In the accident, Hughes got a crushed collar bone, six crushed ribs and some third-degree burns, but besides this it affected him the rest of his life. With this he turned into a more unusual person because he developed an addiction to opiates because of use of morphine as a painkiller during his rehabilitation. He turned into an isolated person, developing a disease known as hypochondria, which makes a person preoccupied with physical health and body. This person believes, fears or is convinced that he has a serious disease, despite medical reassurance.
Hughes became so isolated the he was inside a room for a little over 8 months, only opening the room for food carefully inspected for any germ. The main reason he left the room in 1947 was because he was called to testify. Senator Ralph Owen Brewster opposed the commercial interest of Howard Hughes. He said that Howard had received $40 million from the Defense Department without actually delivering the aircraft he had contracted to provide (which was the H-4 Hercules). Even though Hughes had everything against him, he combated Brewster with the same anger, accusing him of being corrupt.
Hughes spread rumors about the senator’s close association with Pan Am (Hughes’s rival company), alleging that he received free flights and other things in return for help beating TWA. The senator also passed a bill to remove government approval for TWA flights across the Atlantic. Hughes openly said that Brewster had promised an end to the Senate investigation if he would agree to merge TWA with Pan Am. In reply, the senator, annoyed by the accusations, stood aside from leading the investigation to become a witness before the committee. He denied Hughes’s accusations and made several opposing accusations, but failed to harm Hughes. The senator’s reputation suffered greatly from this incident with Hughes.
Howard Hughes died on April 5, 1976, at the age of 70 when he was going on an airplane from his penthouse in Mexico to a hospital in Houston. The autopsy showed that he died because of a kidney failure, plus in his bloodstream it appeared that he had 1.9 micrograms of codeine. This dose of codeine is more than fatal, and together with a good amount of valium it makes it fatal. Hughes was unrecognizable due to his long years of recluse. His hair, beard, finger and toe nails were disgustingly long. Doctors said that malnutrition to his 6’4” body helped him on his death, because he only weighed 90 lbs. Since he was too unrecognizable, the FBI had no other choice than to use the fingerprint identification to identify the body. Howard is buried in the cemetery of Glenwood in Houston.
Hughes is worth writing research paper, because he is a genius on mostly everything related to plane designs. It is good to know that thanks to this man we are able to move fast and around the world. Jets are a great innovation on planes; Howard was the one of inventors of the jet propulsion airplanes, but wasn’t able to make the most out of them, because of his illness. I believe he is an inspiration for most of the youths out there wanting to study engineering, I think this is true, because Howard is my inspiration because of the great example he represents. Besides being a plane genius he was also a movie director producer which is also another reason why this man is a good research topic.
Johnson, Bobby H. “Howard Hughes” The World Net Encyclopedia. Ed. Robert O Zeleny. Chicago World Enc. Inc, 1990. PBS Chasing the Sun- Howard Hughes [Online] Available http://www.pbs.org/Kcet/chasing the sun/innovators/hhughes.html, September 9, 2003. Golden Ages [Online] Available http://nationalaviation.org/museum-enshrinee/asp?eraid=3&enshrineeid=302, September 12, 2003. Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele, Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes (New York: Norton, 1979). Charles Barton, Howard Hughes and His Flying Boat (Fallbrook, California: Aero, 1982). Michael Drosin, Citizen Hughes (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985). Howard Hughes, My Life and Opinions, ed. Robert P. Eaton (Chicago: Best Books Press, 1972). Robert Maheu, Next to Hughes: Behind the Power and Tragic Downfall of Howard Hughes, by His Closest Advisor (New York: HarperCollins, 1992). Harold Rhoden, High Stakes: The Gamble for the Howard Hughes Will (New York: Crown, 1980). Robert W. Rummel, Howard Hughes and TWA (Washington: Smithsonian Press, 1991). Tony Thomas, Howard Hughes in Hollywood (Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1985)