Tag Archives: Howard Hughes

Today in Texas History – September 13

From the Annals of the Flyboys –  In 1935, aviator Howard Hughes, Jr., originally of Houston, set a new landplane airspeed record of 352.39 mph in the Hughes H-1 airplane.  The H-1Racer was specifically designed for speed records.. It was the first aircraft model produced by the Hughes Aircraft company and only one was ever built.  It was also the last aircraft built by a private individual to set a world speed record.  All aircraft speed records since then have been broken by military craft.

The H-1 broke the world landplane speed record with Hughes at the controls, clocking 352.39 mph  averaged over four timed passes. Hughes ran out of fuel after the last pass, but managed to land in a beet field south of Santa Ana, California without serious damage to either himself or the plane.  After exiting the plane, Hughes only recorded comment was: “We can fix her; she’ll go faster.”

Today in Texas History – July 14

From the Annals of the Aviation Pioneers – In 1938, Howard Hughes and a four-man crew landed their specially equipped Lockheed 14 in New York City, having circled the globe in three days, nineteen hours, and seventeen minutes. Hughes, a Houston native, was wealthy from the age of 18 as he inherited a fortune when orphaned.  He first sought fame in Hollywood in the 1920s producing and then directing movies such as Hell’s Angels (1930) and Scarface (1932).  Hughes had been fascinated with flying since his youth and used part of his incredible fortune to form the Hughes Aircraft Company in the 1930s as a division of Hughes Tool Company.  Hughes was a talented and daring pilot and set two speed records. In the 1940s, Hughes Aircraft landed several contracts to produce military aircraft, but with mixed results, as in the case of the famous HK-1 flying boat (the “Spruce Goose”).