It’s been eighty years since one of aviation’s most colorful characters began his career as a racing pilot and aircraft manufacturer. In 1934, when he was twenty-eight, Howard Hughes nabbed his first racing trophy in a custom-modified Boeing 100A biplane. His next feats would be won in racers built by his own engineers at the Hughes Aircraft Company, with considerable input from Hughes himself.
Now mostly known for his late-life reclusiveness and eccentricity, Howard Hughes was a major figure in the early years of aviation as a pilot, manufacturer, and investor. This article, presented by Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reviews the highlights of Hughes’s aviation career.