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Hughes H-4 Hercules

aka the Spruce Goose, is still an awe-inspiring aircraft. The sheer size, unique construction, dubious history and it’s one and only flight in 1947 was enough to place it in the record books.

Due to wartime restrictions on the availability of metals, the H-4 was built almost entirely of laminated birch, not spruce as its nickname suggests. The aircraft was a marvel in its time. It married a soon-to-be outdated technology — flying boats — to a massive airframe that required some truly ingenious engineering innovations.

Currently, the Airbus A380 is about to get top spot as the largest passenger airliner ever built, first flight test in April, 2005 and scheduled for commercial operations in late 2006.

H-4 Hercules – yellow
Airbus A380 – green

link to wikipedia on the Spruce Goose
link to the Evergreen Aviation Museum, the current home of the H-4