The HK-1 Flying Boat, more popularly known as the “Spruce Goose” has a long and varied history. No portion of this history is more spectacular than its move from Long Beach, California to McMinnville, Oregon.
The Spruce Goose was acquired by Evergreen Aviation Museum. Its new display site would be McMinnville, a city 40 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. To move an aircraft of this size, 220 feet long, 76 feet high with a 320 foot wingspan, to a city not on a major interstate highway or a large waterway required a team of planners, schedulers, riggers, equipment operators, engineers, mechanics, tug and barge operators and truck loaders and drivers.
Century Aviation was contracted to coordinate all aspects of the move and insure the safety of the aircraft as an artifact. The assignment included:
- Coordinating and negotiating contracts with companies for barging, trucking, crane work, rigging, equipment leasing and crating
- Sequencing each portion of the move – making sure that each took place in the correct order, at the correct time
- Preparation of the aircraft for the move after disassembly. Stretch wrapping of the interior fixtures, desiccant (moisture absorbent) placed in humidity sensitive areas. Shrink wrap exterior surfaces, using 130,000 square feet of shrink wrap, to protect the aircraft from wind, rain and salt water during move
- Coordination of loading and transport by barge and truck
- Supervise permitting process for over the road travel with state, county, and city agencies and public utilities
- Arrangement for temporary storage facilities during the move and at the museum’s future site
- Removal of shrinkwrap from the smaller sections (ailerons, flaps, horizontal stabilizer, elevators) and inspect condition
- Oversee installation of the four largest components into temporary storage buildings.
February 27, 1993 saw the completion of this highly publicized project with the arrival of the fuselage, wings and tail in McMinnville.