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Evergreen International Aviation – Part 3

July 28, 2009

Museums, vineyards and water parks – Oh My!

The Names Originally designated HK-1 for the first aircraft built by Hughes-Kaiser, the giant was re-designated H-4 for Hughes’ fourth aircraft, when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project in 1944. Other names include “Hercules,” which resulted from a Hughes employee’s naming contest. The press insisted on calling the Hughes Flying Boat the “Spruce Goose,” a name that Howard Hughes despised. The funny thing about this nickname is that most of the huge plane is actually made of birch, with only small amounts of maple, poplar, balsa, and, yes, spruce. The Hughes engineers chose birch because of its light weight, strength, and resistance to splitting, dry rot and deterioration.

The Names Originally designated HK-1 for the first aircraft built by Hughes-Kaiser, the giant was re-designated H-4 for Hughes’ fourth aircraft, when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project in 1944. Other names include “Hercules,” which resulted from a Hughes employee’s naming contest. The press insisted on calling the Hughes Flying Boat the “Spruce Goose,” a name that Howard Hughes despised. The funny thing about this nickname is that most of the huge plane is actually made of birch, with only small amounts of maple, poplar, balsa, and, yes, spruce. The Hughes engineers chose birch because of its light weight, strength, and resistance to splitting, dry rot and deterioration.

The star that helped launch the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in 1992 was the H-4. Below you can watch the exciting video of the first and only flight of the Hughes H-4 Flying Boat. Hughes thrilled spectators and radio listeners by taking the Spruce Goose airborne, thereby saving his reputation and the aircraft’s place in history.

At the conclusion of what was supposed to be just a short taxi run of the one a kind prototype. Hughes was asked by the on-board, eye witness reporter, James McNamara. “Howard did you expect that?”

“Certainly, I like to make surprises” Replied Hughes.

I am a huge Hughes fans in both fact and fiction. The mysterious and insanely brilliant Howard Hughes has been the subject of many books, TV shows and movies, including Martin Scorsese’s award winning and fascinating 2004, film “The Aviator.”

In addition, to the Spruce Goose connection to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum there is another Hughes connection, which I will reveal at the end of this section. Not that I am a conspiracy nut. And as Rick Nelson sang, “Over in the corner, much to my surprise, Mr. Hughes in Dylan’s shoes wearing his disguise.” – Garden Party 1985.  However, I have found an suprising relationship between Hughes and the Evergreen museum.

But before that, you can watch a little of the History Channel’s “Man, Moment, Machine,” the below episode is about Howard Hughes and his difficulties in building the world’s largest airplane. Difficultiies arrising from design issues, the government and his own obsessive behavior.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and
The Captain Michael King Smith Educational Institute

Captain Michael King Smith (Material in quotes from the museum’s web site)
“Raised in McMinnville, Oregon, Michael King Smith graduated from McMinnville High School 1984. An Captain Michael King Smithhonor student, varsity athlete, and an Eagle Scout, he showed the signs of a leader at an early age. He continued his education at the University of Washington and in 1989 received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force. He graduated first in his class from Columbus Air Force Base. He also received awards including the Commander’s Trophy, Distinguished Graduate and Flying Excellence. Smith went on to become an F-15 pilot and Lead for the 123rd Fighter Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard. At the same time, he served as President of Evergreen Ventures, Inc., and Evergreen Air Venture Museum. He was founder of the Evergreen-Doe Humane Society and President and Founder of Quality Aviation Services.”


History

“The airplane and helicopter exhibits and the artifact, research library and archive collections form the core of the Museum, yet there is a sense in which they are really only secondary, supportive tools to our mission. The aircraft, stories and artifacts are up-close and personal examples of human achievements that have brought us to this current place in history. We strive to create an environment that not only teaches children, youth and adults about the great milestones in the story of aviation, but also demonstrates the importance of other human skills like mathematics, teamwork, determination, perseverance, science and technology.”
“Dreams of flight have captured the imaginations of children and adults alike for centuries. Captain Michael King Smith had a fascination with flight that began in childhood and continued throughout his short life. Captain Smith’s fierce dedication and passion for flying led to his dream of an aviation museum unlike any other – a living museum that celebrates aviation’s rich history, honors the patriotic service of our veterans and offers enlightening educational programs in aviation.”

The Move to Oregon

“The move to Oregon brought a new set of problems for the Flying Boat and Evergreen addressed the great challenge of disassembling, packaging, transporting the aircraft head on. Crews, (including some of the original flight crew!) carefully planned and documented the disassembly to ensure accurate reassembly for the seaplane’s future display. Next, workers created a 60-foot by 60-foot window in the dome to allow for removal of the aircraft.”

“After disassembly and shrink-wrapping, the sections were rolled out of the dome and onto an ocean barge. Leaving the Port of Long Beach on October 13, 1993 the Flying Boat sailed north through the Pacific Ocean. After traveling 980 nautical miles, 20 miles off the coasts of California and Oregon at an average speed of 8 knots, the control surfaces, horizontal stabilizers, wings, vertical tail, and fuselage arrived in Portland, Oregon at sundown October 18. Thousands of people celebrated the arrival with an official proclamation of “Spruce Goose” Day on October 22, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.”

It was said that Captain Michael King Smith, son of Evergreen Aviation’s founder, Delford M. Smith, wanted to fly the H-4 to Oregon. I’m not sure if he was serious, but it was sadly – not to be.  For even though it was Micael Smith’s vision and passion that was the driving force for creating the museum and bringing the Hughes Flying Boat to McMinnville. Captain Smith died tragically in an automobile accident in 1995.

Song dedicated to the brave aviators and space crews

who challenge the constraints of science and earth.

Surrounding the museums, Evergreen grew its own vineyards, part of its expansive agricultural enterprises, nestled on the some of the 8,000 beautiful acres owned by Evergreen.

About Evergreen Vineyards

“Evergreen Vineyards is a family of vineyards under Evergreen Agricultural Enterprises. Located in the premier winemaking region of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the vineyards are near the banks of the Yamhill River, where a unique microclimatecreates excellent growing conditions for the grape. The Evergreen family of wines includes 2002 Spruce Goose Oregon Pinot Noir, 2004 Spruce Goose Oregon Pinot Gris, 2004 Jardiniere Rose, 2004 Spruce Goose Oregon Pinot Noir and Spruce.”

Spruce Goose Vineyards “In 1989 we started our foray into the wine industry by purchasing a Pinot Noir vineyard and ever since have been planting Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling grapes in the lush, fertile land of the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s internationally renowned wine country.

Our label is dedicated to the Spruce Goose – Howard Hughes famous flying boat for its innovation and the dreams that inspired the planes creation, at Evergreen we put the same innovation into the creation of our wines.

Evergreen Vineyards family of fine wines are available internationally in retailers, restaurants, markets and our tasting rooms, located in the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.”

Innovation is employed throughout Evergreen enterprises.

First Vineyard in Willamette Valley to use State-of-the-Art Harvesting Machine at Evergreen Vineyards

“McMinnville, OR – Evergreen Vineyards is the first vineyard in the Willamette Valley to use a revolutionary, state-of-the-art grape harvester. Last week’s results of harvesting the Pinot noir grapes are impressive. On day one the Braud/New Holland Harvester was able to cleanly pick 3.5 tons in only twenty minutes. With hand harvesting, it would have taken one person 34 hours to pick the same tonnage – 102% greater efficiency picking with the harvester.”

But, that’s not all folks – there are plans for a high-end hotel and Water Park!

The Oregonian reported in April that Evergreen is moving ahead in expanding its popular visitor destination. The museums are currently Oregon’s number one tourist attraction, out-drawing its closest competitor (OMSI) by two-times. But, how about a water slide out of a roof mounted 747! Wahoo…

Special to The Oregonian

–Kate Rowland, 4/21/09

“Plans are in motion for an 80- to 90-room resort lodge and separate indoor water park at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum near McMinnville.

Brian Bauer, a museum board member and president of Evergreen International Aviation, said the lodge and 50,000-square-foot water park will follow the museum’s aviation theme, which already attracts 425,000 visitors annually.

A Boeing 747 jetliner mounted on the water park’s roof could become a significant landmark. “Visitors will be able to slide out of a real 747 aircraft into the pool,” Bauer said. “Other than that, it will be similar to other large water parks across the country.”

“It will take 18 months to two years for the lodge from start to finish,” Bauer said. “There will be some overlap, but the lodge will be significantly finished before we begin building the water park.”

Now for the surprising Hughes connection…

Alert readers of this blog will remember the first story I wrote. It had to do with It was about the Willamette Valley Meteorite. And who was it in 1901, found and absconded with the 32,000 pound space rock? None other than Ellis Hughes! Remember, Hughes found the largest meteorite in America and drug it to his property to show it off? And today you’ve learned that Evergreen, bought the largest airplane ever made  and barged it to its property to show it off. And that plane was made by whom? – Howard HUGHES – get it! Ellis Hughes and Howard Hughes.

Not enough for you huh? Well that’s not all. What if I were to tell you that Evergreen had recently purchased a segment of the Willamette Valley Meteorite and was going to display it in its Space Museum! Coincidence or conspiracy – ask Rick Nelson, who died in a plane accident…

Willamette Meteorite Joins Evergreen Aviation Museum’s Collection

The Museum’s 4.5-ounce, 7.5-inch piece is part of the 15 ½-ton, 10-foot whole, the largest meteorite found in the U.S. and the world’s sixth largest.

I called the museum to make sure that the Meteorite segment was on display. Unfortunately, it is not yet available to visitors. I spoke with museum curator, Stewart Bailey and while there’s plenty of good space gear to see. He is uncertain when we’ll get to visit our piece of the space rock. Uncertain or could there be ulterior motives…

https://i2.wp.com/www.ipmskalamazoo.org/article_uploads/x38_1024.jpg

The new museum will feature artifacts the facility has already acquired including the Titan II SLV missile, the Titan IV SLV missile, the Willamette Meteorite, the replica Lunar Module, the replica Lunar Rover and the Russian Photon Space Capsule.

Mr. Bailey wrote a nice introduction to the Evergreen Aerospace museum with some excellent photographs at his REPORT FROM THE EVERGREEN AVIATION & SPACE MUSEUM.

Next the final section: Evergreen Internaional Aviation, Part 4 – The American Dream of  Delford M. Smith

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 11, 2010 7:50 am

    I wrote a similar blog regarding this subject but your is better.

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