Strange Planes (1990): S01E04 – Giants


Technology Documentary hosted by Luke Swann, published by Discovery Channel broadcasted as part of DC Wings series in 1990.


From dirigibles like the Hindenberg and Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, touching all the major milestones along the way, up to the C5 Galaxy, Fat Albert, and the USSR’s giant AN 124.

From dirigibles to the huge jets of today, this episode traces the story of aviation’s most mammoth aircraft. From the full-bellied dirigibles to passenger jets, large-sized planes have come a long way. The Hindenburg – the largest aircraft ever flown – the Flying Boat, the disastrous Barling Bomber, the Boeing StratoCruiser and Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose all have a place in the history of huge planes.

Air-inflated craft were popular for a time, even serving in World War I. But, cumbersome construction and navigational limits made them difficult to use. Still, armies needed a way to transport large crews and supplies over enemy-infested waters. Along came the Spruce Goose. Weighing over 400,000 pounds, the enormous plane was an engineering miracle that fulfilled transportation needs.

Built for civil and and military uses these amazing planes stun the imagination with their vast size. With names such as ‘Fat Albert’ and ‘Pregnant Guppies’ these giants of the skies rank with the world’s strangest aircraft. Included are B36, B52, and B1 bombers plus AN 124, the giant from Russia.

Strange Planes Series

You can find a full index and overview of Strange Planes here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 1990.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 46-54 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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