Howard Hughes and TWA

Howard Hughes (1905-1976) was born in Houston, Texas and died on a flight returning to Houston from Mexico. Hughes had always had a strong interest in aviation and over the years owned either outright or a controlling interest in various aviation-related entities, including commercial airlines TWA and Northwest Airlines (briefly) and aircraft manufacturing.

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Marion Stegeman Hodgson, Winning Her Wings

Marian Stegeman Hodgson was born December 16, 1921 in Athens, Georgia. She earned her degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in the spring of 1941, not quite six months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Around that time the federal government had instituted a flight training program called the Civilian Pilot Training Program, or CPT, and during her senior year, she was selected to participate. Part of the planning was to admit one female for every ten male trainees.

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Howard Hughes’ Around the World Flight

Some people may only remember Howard Hughes in his senior years as having been an unkempt, reclusive and eccentric billionaire living in a secluded hotel room in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hughes was born on December 24, 1905 in Humble, Texas to Howard R. Hughes, Sr. and Allene Stone Gano. He was an heir to the Hughes Tool Company. During his lifetime, he was also known as a successful businessman, investor, film director, record setting pilot, among his other achievements.

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The “Dallas Spirit”

The Dallas Spirit was the name of an aircraft flown by Capt. William P. Erwin in the 1927 Dole Air Race, also known as the Dole Air Derby, and entered in a second competition, the Easterwood Race, intended to run from Dallas to California to Hawaii and finally to Hong Kong. Typical of construction at the time of transition away from biplanes, it was a monoplane (single wing) characterized by a high wing and conventional landing gear. It was a “tail dragger” which meant that when it came to rest, it sat on the two forward wheels under the wing and a tail wheel. The design somewhat resembled Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis. The Dallas Spirit’s wingspan was 48 ft., and the 225 hp. air cooled Wright radial engine could allow it to achieve a top speed of 126 mph. and cruise at about 105 mph. Its wings were painted silver and its body was painted green.

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