Monday, February 14, 2011

Moving the Spruce Goose

Reader Glenn Styron sent us the following message about the preparations for the move of the Spruce Goose. Housed for years in a hangar on what is now Pier T, the mammoth plane, officially the Hughes H-4 Hercules, was moved to its dome next to the Queen Mary in 1982. The flying boat was moved once again in the early 1990s, to its current home at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore.

Styron writes:

"I was involved in the demolition, preservation and recycling efforts of the Spruce Goose. It was in winter of 1979. I was was on winter break from CSULB and needed a short term job. A man that lived across the alley from me was the foreman and added me to the work crew.

"The amazing thing I found was a machinists payscale guide; I found on the floor of one of the workshops. These machinists were certified to various levels and the top pay was about $1.75 per hour.

"The other incredible feeling was to be around the dry-dock facility where the water could be let into the "lock," filled quickly to deploy the fantastic flying boat. I remember the height and depth of the dry dock made it seem like a far way down to the water level.

"The other thing that struck me was the reckless smashing of the surrounding buildings and the violence at which history was torn apart and made way for progress. But in the long run it was the correct thing to do and now the aircraft is properly cared for."

Click here to see more photos of the moving of the Spruce Goose.

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More about the Spruce Goose

1 comment:

KeithH said...

The cradle that fit under the Spruce Goose during the lifting was designed to be submerged and moved under the Spruce Goose, When in place, four large ballast tanks (partially filled with concrete from what I remember) at each corner of the cradle were released allowing the cradle to rise under the plane. Several years ago, while doing a sonar survey, port staff located at least two of the large pipes, still semi-buried in the bottom of the main channel where the lift took place.