AGREEMENT REACHED WITH AERO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles CA – July 21, 2015 –The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville OR has reached an agreement with the Aero Club of Southern California to transfer full ownership of the Hughes Flying Boat, aka the Spruce Goose, to the Museum which bought the aircraft in 1992 under a long-term payment plan.
The Aero Club has used the payments to fund its robust scholarship program and its annual presentation of the Howard Hughes Memorial Award to outstanding aviation and aerospace pioneers stretching from Jack Northrop in 1978 to Elon Musk in 2015.
“We continue to move the Museum forward by creating a working relationship with the Aero Club of Southern California. This deal is a win-win resolution and a great step forward,” said John Rasmussen, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors.
“We hope to grow this relationship and to continue to improve the displays, exhibits and resources that are available to the Evergreen Museum Campus. We have a world-class facility which Oregonians can be very proud of and we will continue that tradition.” Rasmussen added.
“We want to be sure that the Flying Boat and Howard Hughes’ accomplishments are remembered and celebrated,” said John Stammreich, President of the Aero Club. “We were thrilled to see that the Museum has taken exemplary care of the Spruce Goose and to see the direction that the Museum has taken, growing the story of aerospace history around this masterpiece. The result is inspiring and something we are pleased to be a part of.”
After Howard Hughes’ death in 1976, the Flying Boat was gifted by Hughes’ Summa Corporation to the Aero Club of Southern California. The Club then leased it to the Wrather Corporation, who moved it into a domed hangar alongside the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.
Subsequently, the Walt Disney Company acquired the Wrather Corporation, thus taking over the lease of the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose. Disney did not want the aircraft, and the Aero Club was forced to put it up for sale.
In 1992, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum co-founders Michael King Smith and Delford M. Smith submitted the winning proposal to provide the aviation icon with a proper home. The Flying Boat was disassembled and transported by barge up the West Coast, then up the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, to Portland, Oregon. It remained there for several months, until water levels permitted the huge structures to safely pass under the Willamette’s many bridges.
Finally, in February 1993, the aircraft was transported by truck for the last 7.5 miles to McMinnville. Temporary hangars were built as housing for the plane, while volunteers worked on the aircraft’s restoration. In 2001, re-assembly of the Hughes Flying Boat was completed in its new home.
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum is best known as the home of the world’s largest flying boat, an SR-71 “Blackbird,” and the Titan II SLV Missile. In addition, there are more than 200 historic aircraft, spacecraft and exhibits on display, along with artwork and traveling exhibits. The Museum values its educational partnerships, which include the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, the Oregon Space Consortium and the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.
In June 2011, the Museum opened the Wings & Waves Waterpark, an educational park that includes four waterslides, a wave pool and a children’s museum dedicated to teaching students about the power of water.
The Museum is located at 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, across the highway from the McMinnville Airport and about three miles southeast of McMinnville on Highway 18. The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 503-434-4185 or visit www.evergreenmuseum.org for more information
Evergreen: Melissa Grace 503-434-4185, Melissa.Grace@sprucegoose.org
Aero Club: Nissen Davis 310-729-6510, email@example.com