Monday, June 8, 2009

Hughes' H1 Racer

For the longest time I've had an interest in the life of Howard Hughes. Actually, on two fronts. One, his love of aviation and also what caused this man of incredible talent to self-destruct the way he did. In the picture above is the H1 racer. Some called it "an engine with a saddle strapped on it!" Hughes even had the rivets flush with the body to avoid drag and increase speed. At the time he set a new world's record with a speed of 352 miles an hour. He however, stayed up in the plane too long, ran out of fuel, but was able to land his craft, landing gear up, and raised the pitch of the plane to land in a beet field! He survived. Upon arriving to help him, his workers came up to him and all he said was, "She'll go faster!"

I've been to D.C. three times. For some reason I never got to the Air and Space Museum. That's where the original H1 racer is located. Well, maybe I'll take my fourth trip to D.C. to see this bullet of an aircraft. Of course Hughes went on to set a world record, at the time, of traveling around the world in a record time even beating out some older records. He bought TWA and made commercial aviation easier on passengers as they traveled above the weather where the air is thinner and the ride smoother. Plus, he created the "Hercules." A flying boat if you will. It was to be used to fly troops, tanks and more across the ocean during the second world war. The reason is that the German U-boats were destroying ships that were sea-bound carrying troops across the Atlantic.

It's sad too, that a man who was so intelligent descended into a life of madness. There's an old saying that goes something like this: "there's a small gap between genius and madness" or something to that degree. Off the subject, one CCM artist once quipped, "It goes something like this. However, why do people say that? The song goes 'exactly' like this." I always found that funny.

Well, that's it for today. I used to fly more than I do now. However, with all the security now it's kind of taken the fun out of it. Oh, I still love it when I get to do it. I went to Portland Oregon sometime back. It was really great to see Mount Hood and Mount Rainier from the sky! Also, I was able to see the Rockies too. I remember a few years back flying to Raleigh North Carolina that we crossed over the Appalacians. From the air, it seemed I was seeing ripples in the ground! Upon looking again, I realized I was seeing the mountains. What a great sight. Have a great day everyone.


  1. During my most recent flight a few months ago, I had the pleasure of flying over the Grand Canyon on the way out. I looked at it in awe as long as I could--amazing. On the way home and before landing in Indy we went right over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and leaned into a turn right over the complex--very cool. A few years ago I flew right over downtown Chicago and was amazed at how small the Sear Tower looked. It's all about perspective, I guess.

  2. Roger,

    Perspective is right. I've flown out of O'Hare so much I can't count them all. I remember the fog had set in one morning as we were taking off headed for Nashville. The Sears Tower and some of the other buildings peaked over the fog. It looked like a city on the clouds! It was a really nice view. Upon arriving close to Nashville all the farmland looked like giant quilts. I think the most amazing of all was when I was flying over the Atlantic and saw some ships on the ocean. I was reminded of those little plastic toy boats that used to float in the bath water. It's funny what thoughts come to mind at times! Thanks for writing my friend.