Spruce Goose Plane Howard Hughes

Wealth, Airplanes and Katherine Hepburn - The Checkered Life of Howard Hughes

He was worth billions, loved women and revolutionized aviation. One of his masterpieces is the "Hughes H-4 Hercules" flying boat. Seventy years ago, Hughes set a speed record in his "H-1" from Los Angeles to New York - with an average speed of 518 km / h. We present the most exciting facts from the life of Howard Hughes.

"I'm not a paranoid and troubled millionaire. Damn it, I'm a billionaire!" Quotes like this suggest that Howard Hughes was without a doubt a very special man - perhaps one of the most remarkable of the 20th century.

At the age of 18 he inherited the "Hughes Tool Company" from his father and was thus financially independent at an early age. Only three years later, Hollywood lured the young businessman.

DiCaprio plays Hughes in "Aviator"

As a producer and director he was responsible for "The Racket" (1928) and "Scarface" (1932), among others. With "Höllenflieger" (1930) and "The Front Page" (1931) he even received Oscar nominations.

He not only made his own films, there have also been three productions about Hughes so far. "The Insatiable" and "Howard Hughes - A Legend" should only be known to experts. With Martin Scorsese's "Aviator" (five Oscars and Leonardo DiCaprio in the leading role) Hughes' life made it to the top of the Hollywood stage again in 2004.

Aviation records last astonishingly long. Especially when it comes to size, old models often triumph. But now the era of one of the largest aircraft, the Boeing 747, is set to end in 2022. We show the record holders in flight history.

The World's Greatest Womanizer

As befits a movie star, Hughes also had all kinds of women’s stories. Howard Hughes was officially married twice. There is still speculation about a third, secret marriage with Hollywood star Terry Moore.

Ginger Rogers, Ava Gardner and Katherine Hepburn are said to have been among his numerous lovers. His nickname, "The World's Greatest Womanizer"In any case, it was no accident.

Hughes and aviation - record after record

Howard Hughes' greatest passion was aviation. In 1936 he founded his own company "Hughes Aircraft" and only two years later he became the majority shareholder in the airline "Trans World Airlines" (TWA). This laid the foundation for his billion dollar empire.

From an early age, Hughes designed, built and flew his own aircraft. With these he set numerous records in the 1930s - among other things, he made the fastest circumnavigation of the world ever in 1938 - in 91 hours.

The Hughes H-4 Hercules - Howards Masterpiece

Hughes' most famous project was the construction of the H-4 Hercules, nicknamed "Spruce Goose" (Eng .: "Spruce Goose"). The wooden seaplane was designed to carry 750 passengers and had a wingspan of more than 97 meters - this figure is still unmatched to this day.

The transport ship was not ready in time for the Second World War. Therefore, the colossus did not take off for the first and only time in Long Beach until November 2, 1947. The Hercules only covered a mile and the flight took less than a minute - the pilot was of course Howard Hughes.

Withdrawal from the public

The bon vivant Hughes withdrew more and more from the public from the 1950s, living in hotel rooms in Las Vegas from 1966 to 1970, which he allegedly never left during this period. The businessman bought a total of seven casinos in the gaming city.

Since then, wild speculation has grown up about the mental and health condition of Howard Hughes. Among other things, drug addiction and a paranoid fear of bacteria were suspected. Hughes died of kidney failure on April 5, 1976, on a plane over Texas.

Howard Hughes is Iron Man

Even during his lifetime, Hughes was so inspiring as a person for many of his contemporaries that comic book legend Stan Lee developed one of today's most famous Marvel superheroes on himself: Iron Man.

Stan Lee speaks in the appendix of the Spiderman comic "Fury oft he Forgotten Foe!" about the origin of Iron Man. Here he describes Hughes as "one of the most colorful people of his time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a billionaire, a womanizer and finally, a madman." In an interview about the first Iron Man film, he added: "He [Tony Stark] is Howard Hughes without being crazy."