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Howard Hughes: Aviator Hardcover – 1 Nov 2004
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George Marrett, a test pilot for Howard Hughes, gives a fascinating insider's account of the aviation genius who set speed records in the 1930s and went on to develop some of America's most famous aircraft and weapons. Marrett takes readers inside Hughes's complex world - a world that has kept its secrets for nearly six decades. Both a gifted storyteller and an expert in the field of aviation, the author integrates stories of Hughes the ace pilot with Hughes the designer who insisted on test-flying every plane he built and Hughes the businessman who became America's first billionaire.
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Howard Hughes was many things but his true passion in life was aviation and his greatest accomplishments were in that field.Hughes broke many speed and distance records over the years,some in aircraft that he helped design.This book covers these aircraft in detail and tells the story of their design and their part in the Hughes Aviation legend.
One of Hughes greatest accomplishments in the field of aviation was his advancement of high altitude commercial passenger service.Up until this time passenger aviation was all flown at lower altitudes and it was not only dangerous it was down right uncomfortable because of the weather and turbulence at the lower altitudes.Hughes believed that if you could design an aircraft that could fly at higher altitudes where the air was calmer that flying would be more enjoyable and safer for the public.He put out a request for an aircraft that could fill that need and a team of engineers at Lockheed came through with a design and the Lockheed Constellation was born.The "Connie" as it was known with it's pressurized cabin and luxury interior and it's ability to fly at high altitudes in the smoother air changed commercial passenger flight forever and made it an everyday part of American life.
Hughes foresight in this was one of his greatest accomplishments and it advanced Commercial passenger flight and made it an every day experience for millions of people.
Hughes was once heard to say that if he could be remembered for anything he would like to be remembered as an Aviator.Mr.Marrett's efforts with this book go a long way in fulfilling this wish. I Recommend this book highly.-Floyd Smith
To save money on aeronautical charts, he flew with the road maps handed out free by oil companies. He ignored air-traffic controllers, filed misleading flight plans, identified himself with the name of his co-pilot, flew under visual rules in bad weather, and cut off the pilot ahead of him in the pattern. Even as a passenger, George Marrett writes, Hughes could turn a routine flight into a debacle. His big ambition was to outshine Lindberg.
Of course Howard Hughes was more than an aviator: he made movies, ran an airline, designed the half-cup bra, founded aerospace companies, made billions, and was the country's most famous hypochondriac. But those are incidentals as for a fellow pilot like George Marrett, who flew a rescue Skyraider in Vietnam and wrote about it in Cheating Death, and who afterward became a test pilot for Hughes Aircraft. By concentrating on the aviation side of his former boss, Marrett has written a short, readable, and fascinating biography. In his hands, Howard Hughes turns out to have been a lot more interesting than Charles Lindbergh, though he never came close to him as an aviator.
-- Dan Ford
George Marrett has probably realized that, and limits the bio to some of the larger events of Hughes life, centered around aviation. He does a great job there, with inside stories (from extensive interviews of Hughes contemporaries) that are fascionating, and inspiring (for Hughes accomplishments - which were many and unique).
Don't buy this book expected to see the full story of Hughes life... or a more detailed view of The Aviator movie (which apparently took more than a few liberties). Buy it to more fully understand Hughes great aviation contributions... and the times in which he lived.
Fortunately, the book stays classy to the end, and avoids the tabloid view of Hughes life (and his end). We can get that type of view elsewhere.. if we want to waste our time. For now lets focus on the great persona of Hughes, and the the fascinating times in which he made his greatest contributions.