The Howard 500
The 20th century saw civilization’s most remarkable advance-manned flight. In a mere 30 years after Kitty Hawk, aviation became the public’s passion: Billy Mitchell’s incredible forecast of the Pearl Harbor attack, Charles Lindbergh’s cool courage and precision, Amelia Earhardt’s flying feats (an exhortation to women and men), Howard Hughes’ magnetism and technical genius, and, the 20th century’s greatest inspiration, leader and aviator Jimmy Doolittle. These remarkable people courageously led the way to modern air transportation, and they all flew round (radial) engine aircraft in their quests.
The sounds, aroma and raw power of the P-38, P-40, B-17, B-24, B-25, B-29, B-34 (PV-1) -the Howard 500’s ancestors-and others left their mark. The Lockheed Constellation, perhaps the most beautiful aircraft ever built, was the pinnacle of elegance in passenger travel.
In the 1950s, Dee Howard and his legendary mechanic, Ed Swearingen, pioneered executive transportation with their conversions of military bombers. Seeking the ultimate in radial engine pressurized business transport, Dee relentlessly pushed his crown jewel, the Howard 500, to production. The Howard 500 was put into service in 1963. It was the last radial engine passenger transport built. Dee built 17 Howard 500s for a select Who’s Who of industry and entertainment. Today, pilot after pilot, mechanic after mechanic, approaches and walks around N500HP with reverence and respect.
“This plane is part of aviation’s romantic past and best times, deservedly receiving Grand Champion before more than 1 million people at Oshkosh in 1997. When she arrives and departs, those who love aviation gather for the joy of the moment. It is a privilege and an honor to have cared for this magnificent airplane.”