It is appropriate for me to recognize two individuals that were my personal friends and who were aviation confidants to the late Mr. Hughes. It was their friendship, technical skills, advice and personal devotion to duty that earned Howard Hughes the title; "The Father of Commercial Aviation”
Glenn "Ode” Odekirk (1905-1985) –They met in 1933 during the filming of the epic movie “Hells Angels” that Hughes was producing and directing. Ode was a skilled pilot, craftsman/mechanic and an airplane builder; a perfect compliment to Howard for that era. He and Howard flew thousands of hours together testing and pioneering aviation technology. Ode built the H-1 Racer, oversaw the details of the Hughes daring ‘around the world flight’ in 1938, the XF-11 aircraft and Ode is credited with the design and construction of the famous “Spruce Goose”.
Jack Real (1915-2005) - An aeronautical flight engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Company. Jack was Howard's aviation eyes and ears that guided the design and acquisition of many of Hughes airplanes for TWA and Hughes Air West. Jack served as president of the Hughes helicopter company and was responsible for the design and production of the AAH ‘Apache’ Helicopter. He was considered Hughes ‘last best friend’. He was at Howard's side when he died on an airplane in route to Houston, Texas from Mexico in 1976.
Bob McCaffery - I am honored to have known these two gentlemen. Ode served as my Honorary Chairman, when I was Chairman of "The Committee to Save the Hughes Flying Boat" in 1980. Jack was Director Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Aero Club of Southern California, Host of the annual Howard Hughes Memorial Award banquet. I served as President of the Aero Club in 1985.