An Enigma of Aviation
February 28, 2011
What do airplanes, satellites, World War I epics, oil drilling, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have in common? One man named Howard R. Hughes, Jr.
Howard Hughes was born in 1905 to incredibly successful parents. In fact, his father invented an oil drill bit that revolutionized the industry. After inheriting his father’s company and the millions of dollars with it, Howard turned his sight from business to Hollywood. He produced a myriad of movies, but his greatest success and expense was Hell’s Angels, a World War I epic in 1930. The movie required over $4 million, 18 months of filming, and over 100 planes, which Hughes commissioned to be built.
Hughes’s fascination with planes continued throughout his life. Hughes broke the air speed record in a plane that he had designed, and he acquired Trans World Airlines where he invented the precursor to the modern commercial airliner. He also designed the Spruce Goose, a giant wooden plane that was supposed to carry military and supplies behind enemy lines.
Hughes and his companies also engineered the shell for the Voyager satellites and laid the groundwork for satellite television. Hughes managed all of this and more while living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
You can find out even more about Howard Hughes at the library. Check out the movies, The Aviator or The Amazing Howard Hughes. The library also has numerous documentaries about the enigma that was Howard Hughes, and you can look up his biography in the American National Biography database.
Blue Springs South