Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules Research Paper

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Hughes H-4 Hercules

Duane S. Deeter

Southeastern Oklahoma State University


Howard Hughes was awarded a large military contract to build a large transport aircraft to help with sending supplies overseas during WWII. Requested in 1942 by the U.S. Government, the aircraft was to be designed as a troop and cargo aircraft. Supplies were getting extremely delayed due to the German Navy’s U-Boat fleet destroying anything in range. The project was doomed from the start. One of the main issues was the shortage or material. Metal was extremely scarce during the war so alternate materials had to be used. It was decided to use wood to build the aircraft. Although this project was eventually successful, not meeting the original completion date was considered a failure.

Hughes H-4 Hercules
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His father invented the “Hughes Rock Eater”, a self-sharpening bit in drilling oil wells. (TSHA, 2017) Upon the death of Howard Sr., the younger Hughes dropped out of school at the age of 19 after obtaining access to a large part of the family business Hughes Tool Company. (TSHA, 2017) Howare Hughes eventually moved west to California to branch into making movies. During his time in making the movie “Hell’s Angels” Hughes became focused on aviation. An avid flyer himslef, Hughes purchased an old military plane that was converted into a racing aircraft. Maintaing this racing aircraft began to be expensive, so Hughes forme the Hughes Aircraft Company. (TSHA,

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