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    Default Howard Hughes

    I would not have been successful in business if it wasn't for Howard Hughes.

    The toolmaking and prototype machining that I was exposed to thanks to Hughes Aircraft supplied me with the knowledge that I still use today. I'm sure many PM members are familiar with Hughes.

    I'd like to hear from contractors and employees as well.


    Please keep your comments clean and non political.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    I would not have been successful in business if it wasn't for Howard Hughes.

    The toolmaking and prototype machining that I was exposed to thanks to Hughes Aircraft supplied me with the knowledge that I still use today. I'm sure many PM members are familiar with Hughes.

    I'd like to hear from contractors and employees as well.


    Please keep your comments clean and non political.
    I learned something even more key to my own success, and easily as portable:

    Howard Hughes to Noah Dietrich:

    "Find the experts"

    Private sojer to Managing Director or Chairman, never was a team, time, nor place, I didnt have older, wiser, and better-paid folks insuring our team prevailed.

    Surround yerself with LESSER men, rather than BETTER? FEAR training 'em up to surpass yah - even leave yah for better opportunity? Fail to goal, ever and always for the BEST as can be, rather than "merely adequate"?

    Be too arrogant-greedy to NOT pay 'em more than yah pay YERSELF?

    You'd have been in Howard's rear-view mirror, then.

    Or my one, later.

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    Never had the pleasure of meeting him, or walking his shop floor. I've read numerous books about him, and really liked his style, before the downward slide. I did run into Melvin Dummar some years back, spent an evening partying with him in a small town honkytonk

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    I saw the Spruce Goose on display in Longbeach, I think. Amazing. Around the perimeter of the building they had several little theaters running news reels about Hughes' life and accomplishments. Also amazing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFrank View Post
    I saw the Spruce Goose on display in Longbeach, I think. Amazing. Around the perimeter of the building they had several little theaters running news reels about Hughes' life and accomplishments. Also amazing.
    Four times, IIRC. Usta be yah could go inside it.

    Five or more I've made "Queen Mary" my hotel whilst dealing with "bizness" Lost Angels or Sandy Eggo. Guests can have a tour of the liner with a few extras not on the regular one. Both were well worth it, "Extra" traffic to an office in West LA or down to SD notwithstanding.

    I didn't figure either one to last "forever". Gather ye memories, rosebuds... wotever.. while yah still can do...

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    what ended the tool and die shop, was it the big planes and movies he got into? i saw a movie a while back but you never just know how true it was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Four times, IIRC. Usta be yah could go inside it.

    Five or more I've made "Queen Mary" my hotel whilst dealing with "bizness" Lost Angels or Sandy Eggo. Guests can have a tour of the liner with a few extras not on the regular one. Both were well worth it, "Extra" traffic to an office in West LA or down to SD notwithstanding.

    I didn't figure either one to last "forever". Gather ye memories, rosebuds... wotever.. while yah still can do...
    I don't think you could go inside the aircraft when I was there, maybe 20 years ago? They'd replaced most of the plywood skin on the left side with plexiglass so you could see the interior from the catwalk. When we walked in the building I was looking around for the Spruce Goose but couldn't see it. What I didn't realize was the thing was almost as large as the entire building and you had to look from one end of the building to the other to see the whole thing. We also toured the Queen Mary while there. Also very interesting just by itself.

    I don't remember any of the little theaters showing anything about Hughes Tool. Mostly air racing, movie making, building/flying the Spruce Goose, etc. They had one of his racers hanging from the ceiling and that thing looked like 90% engine cowling and only 10% fuselage left for the pilot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFrank View Post
    I don't think you could go inside the aircraft when I was there, maybe 20 years ago?
    Lot more than 20 years ago the LAST time I toured it.

    Back then, you could look into the pilot's seats - manequins in each "HRH, Jr." in the left seat - off a catwalk through plexiglass, could enter off another gangway to inside the back several rows - only - of the cabin, just behind the engineer's positions, one per each engine, same side and order as they were on the wings. Yah could get TO them from inside the wing whilst in flight AFAIK. B-36 had that feature as well. And needed it.

    They had a barrier riband and some cover plating on the floor to stiffen it and prevent wear.

    It looked more like a classroom set up to teach on simulators than an actual aircraft, it was that spacious.

    Finally, there was a low-level walk through the side hatches into the cargo belly, also on treadway so folks didn't touch the actual aircraft. I THINK they had a genuine restored Sherman tank, not a replica, in the cargo hold, but it was quite a distance away and "glossy" painted as if for a parade, not battledress, so cudda been a Hollywood stage prop.

    He flew it, that one time..

    But my opinion is he discovered it didn't have good enough lift to drag ratio to get up out of "ground effect" or he WOULD have done that, as for his "taxiing test" there was only partial fuel, a crew, and the few VIP witnesses / passengers, no cargo nor much - if any - ballast!

    My Grandmother.. ISTR had her first child same year the Wright Brother's first flew. In her 90's before ever she set foot on an aircraft.

    Dad drove her to Pittsburgh from Weston, WBGVA, so they could do it in one go. Nonstop 747 to LAX to visit his elder brother.

    He stops her by the windows after they had debarked, pointed, nose-on, to "Fat Albert", said "Isn't it a MARVEL mankind can make something that big and have it fly!"

    G'Mum was no dummy. Clocked a full Scholarship to State Teachers's Collitch coming off seventh grade, one room-schoolhouse, and never stopped reading.

    She just looks at him as if he was still five years old, sez:

    "After all the work and money put into it?"

    "It would be a far bigger surprise if it did NOT fly!"



    Old timers aren't amazed by the march of progress.

    We've been in the ranks of that march, the whole damn time, calling cadence - now and then leading various bits of it.
    Last edited by thermite; 05-11-2020 at 03:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Street View Post
    what ended the tool and die shop, was it the big planes and movies he got into? i saw a movie a while back but you never just know how true it was.
    JM2CW, but I regard Noah Deitrich's BOOK about as good as we are likely to ever have - given we are talking about a LOT of businesses, serious money, high stakes risks, and some complex people - not just HRH, Jr. .. nor Noah.

    As to what went where - components were "mortgaged", lost, sold-off, bought-back, or NOT.

    Last major effort HRH, jr. was focussed on with high-level intensity was the Lockheed Constellation and Trans World Airlines vs Pan Am battle.

    Movie wasn't too far off on that part.

    Got sorta fragmented after that. His "OCD" - treatable LATER, hardly even recognized for what it was, or that it COULD be treated - THEN - had gotten its hooks into him too deeply.

    As with Carnegie & Frick, Eisenhower & Bedell Smith, some of the most valued lessons in Hughes and Dietrich have to do with teams working better than expected off the back of "complementary balance"... or even "countervailing errors".

    No complaints. Even at waaaay less that newspaper headline levels, yah can make a decent living off it.

    If yah hadn't guessed? It was Bedell Smith and Dietrich - the "wizards of ways and means" - I paid the most attention to! Someone else always had to do the "heavy dreaming".

    Or as one of my several "Hughes substitutes" once said after the Ike and Bedell Smith analogy:

    "Have a care they don't brand the two of us as Hitler and Martin Bormann!"

    But there you have it.. - never a DULL life for even a moment!


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    My Grandmother.. ISTR had her first child same year the Wright Brother's first flew. In her 90's before ever she set foot on an aircraft.
    There are a few iconic photos - one of them is Orville Wright at the controls of a Constellation. Another is Charles Lindbergh signing autographs
    with the crew of Apollo 11. Across the gulf of time.

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    In June, 2002, I saw Hughes' HK-1 at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon, across from the McMinnville airport. It's very impressively enormous!

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    I worked at Hughes Aircraft in Culver City (Power Systems Group) during part of the F/A-18 project. Was cool to walk out of the building and watch a fighter jet land
    on a near by runway. The facility was making helicopters for the military too.

    See the coffee mug.dsc_0888.jpg

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    The Glomar Explorer was one of the highlights of the Hughes organisation. Doubt that any country could pull off something like that today.Not just the ship.
    The raising of the Kursk was remarkable but that was only 350ft and in public view.
    Heck maybe someone is pulling something like that now just doing a better job keeping it secret!

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    Hughes Aircraft was the only major sized corporation that I considered working for. They offered me a swing shift position, but as as a young man, I could not accept the offer.

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    I have read that any business that Hughes liked and got involved in lost money. The only reason that he was so rich was that daddy invented the rotary drill for drilling oil wells. He thought that business was not interesting so it let that company run itself and make fortunes for him to spend elsewhere. Must be nice to be a only child trust fund kid.
    For decades Hughes Tool held the worldwide patents and any potential oil well had to lease the cutting tool. This was during a worldwide drilling boom after WW1 as oil began to replace coal and wood for power.
    Bill D.

    Howard R. Hughes Sr. - Wikipedia

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    Quote Originally Posted by ratbldr427 View Post
    The Glomar Explorer was one of the highlights of the Hughes organisation. Doubt that any country could pull off something like that today.....
    First you have to lose another hydrogen bomb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    First you have to lose another hydrogen bomb.
    ....and not on dry land this time 'round....
    Last edited by digger doug; 05-13-2020 at 11:59 AM.

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    In early 1990, the dealer said that the 1968 10EE I bought came from Hughes Aircraft Toolroom. Does that time out?

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    For tax reasons, Hughes gave away the aircraft division to his foundation in the 50s. They left LA in stages, first for Tucson, but then, by the early 90s, sold all the original WW2 Hughes Field property, at huge profits, for development. I lived in LA for the tail end of that, when McDonnell was winding down, and Hughes, too, in the 80s- when there were still machinist supply stores in Culver City and El Segundo, and Travadial was still up on the hill- but the inevitable forces of real estate prices drove em all out by 1990 or so. Hell, there used to be a steel yard in Culver City. Now its all million dollar houses and $500 distressed jeans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    I have read that any business that Hughes liked and got involved in lost money.
    Well. it attracts lower taxes that way, yah?

    Not really the case or there wuddn'a been so much OF it left even after years of decline.

    Noah's job - and he was GOOD at it - was to leverage off "Toolco" to juggle things.... until sumthin' "came good" here or there.

    The land UNDER a failed bizness, for example.

    Government forcing a sale that generated a profit HRH, Jr. WOULD HAVE kept plowing in and eventually squandered, but was prevented of it, etc.

    I say again - yah take them as a team, Howard and Noah.


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