The Howard 500 is an amazing aircraft and in its day, the executive jet to the rich and famous. Put into service in 1963, the Howard 500 is the pinnacle of radial engine pressurized business transport. Many WWII aircraft which could be obtained cheaply after the war like the DC-3 (C-47) were turned into executive sleds but they all lacked speed and “calm air” flight provided by a pressurized cabin. While many went about filling the hole of executive travel with remodeling older aircraft, the Howard 500 stepped out as being very unique.
In the 1950’s, Dee Howard and his very talented mechanic Ed Swearingen started out their complete conversion of older bombers. While the Howard 500 bore a strong resemblance to these aircraft, it was a substantially new design, and all 500s had completely new fuselages. Their goal is what became the Howard 500. Dee & Ed built just seventeen Howard 500s for the world’s who’s who in industry and entertainment. This is because the Howard 500 features a 6′ 2″ interior as well as a “stand up” restroom. It’s hybrid pressurization maintains a near sea level cabin altitude making it very comfortable. It also has a very low cabin noise levels. But the one spec of the Howard 500 that caught most owner’s attention is its amazing cruise speeds of near 400mph!
Howard 500 Specs:
Model: Howard 500 S#009
Engine: Whitney R-2800, 18 Cylinder, two-row water injected 2500hp
Pressurized Cabin of 6.75:1 differential
Fuel Capacity: 1546 US gal
Cruising Speed: 325 mph
Range: 2200 miles
Engine RPM at cruise: 2200rpm
Maximum Weight: 3500lbs
There are only two flying examples left of the Howard 500. Both are owned and operated out of Minnesota. The Sister ship to the one pictured, SN005 in 1997 wowed the one million in attendance as EAA AirAdventure and took the coveted Gold Wrench award.