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Harvey M. Hughes

Harvey Monroe Hughes


Harvey Monroe Hughes was born April 14, 1906 in Cutler, Indiana. As a child of 12, while plowing a field, he saw his first airplane and decided that that was for him. It would be three years before he would actually get a ride in an airplane.

In 1929, as a resident of Lansing, Michigan, Hughes embarked upon his flying career by purchasing a partnership in an OX Challenger aircraft. From that time on, his progress was rapid. He earned his private and commercial ratings and started barnstorming at county fairs. His technique was to fly over the crowds, make noise to attract attention, landing in a nearby field, wait for the crowd, and then use the expression "Wanna go up?"

By 1930, he had obtained his F.A.I. certificate-signed by Orville Wright and his Transport License #6906. Hughes competed in the Cord Derby of 1933, having to make his own, innovative engine repairs along the way. In 1946, flying a F-38 Lightning, Hughes competed in the Bendix Trophy Race, finishing eighth after such notables as Paul Mantz and Jacqueline Cochran, and ahead of others like Rex Mays and Bill Lear.

Hughes was certified as an Air Mail pilot in 1938 and during World War II he trained pilots as part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program. In 1981 he sold Hughes Flying Service after a lifetime of flying with many of the great early aviators. He passed away on December 22, 2000.

Harvey Monroe Hughes was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 12, 2002.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program