Howard Hughes Crash

The Case:

On July 7, 1946, Howard Hughes undertakes the first flight of his XF-11, designed to be the highest, fastest spy plane of its time. But the propeller fails, leaving Hughes without power. He crashes in Beverly Hills, destroying two homes and scarring himself for life.

A man in Laramie, WY owns a 1940s altimeter he received from his father, who claimed it came from the fiery crash. He’d been a Hughes employee for over 34 years and was there the day of the accident. Based on this altimeter’s near-perfect condition, experts are skeptical of its connection to the crash, but footage from Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator and a visit to Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” at the Evergreen Aviation Museum could challenge this assertion.

History Detectives determines if the altimeter can be traced back to America’s first billionaire.

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Season 5, Episode 6

Tukufu Zuberi Location:
Los Angeles and McMinnville, Oregon

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