Magazine article Sunset

Winged Wonders

Magazine article Sunset

Winged Wonders

Article excerpt

Howard Hughes's famed Spruce Goose lives again in Oregon

Its wingspan is wider than a football field, and its tail fin is taller than a four-story building. But mere statistics cannot prepare you for your first encounter with the breathtakingly big Spruce Goose, Howard Hughes's legendary plane. Having flown but once, for just 90 minutes in 1947, Hughes Flying Boat is now the centerpiece of a new aviation museum on the outskirts of McMinnville, southwest of Portland.

Evergreen Aviation Museum acquired the Spruce Goose from the Aero Club of Southern California, disassembled it, and had it shipped by barge to Oregon in 1992. Through its museum and educational institute, Evergreen has been restoring and reassembling the Spruce Goose ever since.

It and the other aircraft on display in the towering 121,000-square-foot museum tell the story of aviation history, beginning with a full-size replica of the 1903 Wright brothers' first flyable plane-a marvel of ash, birch, and unbleached muslin. …

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