Produced “Hell’s Angels,” a 1930 film starring Jean Harlow and Ben Lyons with a focus to detail on elaborate dogfight scenes which Hughes personally directed from a camera plane. Despite the frequent re-shooting of scenes and the high costs, the film was a success and sparked international interest in aviation.
Disappeared from Hollywood and worked for American Airway as a co-pilot under the alias “Charles Howard” in 1932 to learn about all the different aspect of commercial flying.
Set a straightaway record of 212 miles per hour in 1933 at Los Angeles Municipal Airport.
Entered the Al-American Air meet and, although it was his first and only competitive air race, won the Sportsman Pilot racing event and the President Trujillo Cup of the Dominican Republic.
Desired to create the fastest racing plane of the time and succeeded in 1935 with the H-1.
Set a transcontinental record in 1936 and was awarded the Harmon Trophy from President Roosevelt.
Appointed Aeronautical Advisor to the New York World’s Fair in 1938.
Broke Wiley Post’s (enshrined 1969) record around the world flight in Hughes’ Lockheed Model 14 to advertise the New York World’s Fair and demonstrate the true potential of a commercial airliner. For this feat, he was awarded the 1938 Harmon Trophy, the Collier Trophy and the Congressional Medal.
Won a government contract to design a large, flying boat that could carry both people and supplies to the war in Europe. Hughes built the “Spruce Goose” which was flown once in 1947 and never took flight again.
Built a gigantic helicopter in 1952 called the “Flying Crane.”