Thu, May 08, 2003
1930s Replica to Scream Again
A number of world record attempts are being scheduled for
Jim Wright's replica of Howard
Hughes's famous H-1 Racer. Aircraft Spruce & Specialty will
sponsor each attempt.
Hughes designed the famous Racer along with Richard Palmer,
intending to test new theories about aerodynamics and set a number
of speed records. The technology incorporated in the H-1, and the
resulting performance was way ahead of its time, setting new
standards in design and construction. After nearly four
decades of inactivity, the Racer was taken out of storage and
donated to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in 1975.
Jim Wright and his construction team invested 35,000 man-hours
over 10 years, and spent $1 million on parts and materials,
including the over 20,000 rivets in the process of getting the
replica to the flightline.
The Hughes Racer is considered by
many pilots to be the most beautiful aircraft, with the most
graceful lines, to ever fly. Hughes was successful in setting a
352-mph 3-kilometer record on September 13, 1935 and then, with a
slightly extended wingspan of 31'9", broke his own earlier
transcontinental record by two hours, going from Los Angeles to
Newark in 7:28:25 and averaging 332 mph.
"Howard pushed the airplane hard in his record attempts," said
Jim Wright, "but we really believe the H-1 is capable of a lot more
than the prototype achieved in the mere 42 hours total time it
accumulated. We'll be doing some performance tweaking that should
take the H-1 way beyond what it accomplished in the mid-30s."
"We were thrilled when we got to see the results of Jim
Wright�s obsession with the inspired and inspirational H-1,"
said Aircraft Spruce president Jim Irwin. "Back in 1935, Howard
Hughes quickly established the fact that he had the world's fastest
single engine aircraft and now we all have a chance to watch the
legend being extended by setting new speed records, including those
set by Hughes. After the Spirit of St. Louis, this may well be the
most-exciting single seat aircraft anyone ever designed. We are
truly honored to be accepted as part of the H-1 program."
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