Introductio to AeroSpace 03

OPENING QUESTION:  We'll spend some time talking about THIS aircraft. Talk with your group to identify BOTH the actual name of the plane and the TYPE of aircraft too!


LEARNING GOAL FOR TODAY: I will be able to describe the evolution of flying boats before WWII during today's class.


  • Flying Boat
  • Spruce Goose


We've already learned that some of the most significant changes in aircraft design occurred as a result of WWII (When was that again?).

Have a brief chat with your group and suggest what some of those changes were...

Let's discuss...


What were the advantages of flying boats?

Keep in mind that before WWII flying was very much NOT a common activity. Most cities (even BIG cities) had very basic airports... many of which were nothing more than very large fields of grass & dirt.

Why is that?

It might surprise you to learn that the first "Airline" was Pan AM. It eventually became one of the largest airlines in the world, but that conversation is for another time.

The first "airline" route was an airmail delivery from Florida to Cuba in 1927

They also carried a few passengers

Pan AM discovered that it could "hop-scotch" across the Carribean Sea and eventually fly along both the East and West coasts of South America:

So... with that in mind, Pan AM developed a Grand Plan to fly across the Pacif (we talked about this briefly before the break:

Which was remarkably expensive (more on that later!)

So.... clearly the next stage in aircraft were flying boats. The bigger the better... right?

Two of the richest men in the world (Howard Hughes and Henry J. Kaiser [my high school was named for him... but I digress])

They figured that the US Government would be VERY interested in a massive flying boat that could carry hundreds of troops or a great deal of material (like TANKS) all the way across the Atlantic Ocean... So they came up with the HK-1

Otherwise known as the SPRUCE GOOSE:

I know we talked about this before the break, but let's dive a bit deeper:

Folks designed by the Color Green: Please find just a wee bit of info about Howard Hughes

Folks designated by the Color Red: Please find out why the Spruce Goose was made out of Wood and why that was a poor choice

Folks designated by the Color Blue: Please find out what the initial specifications were for the Spruce Goose-- in Otherwords what was it SUPPOSED to do.

Folks designated by the Color Orange: Please find out why the Spruce Goose such an incredible flop (please include a discussion of how much time passed between when it was first presented and when it actually flew)