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Artifacts from Hughes XF-11 Crash for Sale

Hughes plane crash

September 16, 2010 — A control yoke and various documents are part of a private sale of items that relate to the 1946 crash of the XF-11, a reconnaissance prototype that was being developed by Hughes Aircraft Company. Howard Hughes was flying the aircraft when an oil leak caused the right propeller to slam into reverse. Hughes tried to reach the Los Angeles Country Club golf course but crashed short, slamming into a Beverly Hills, California home. The fiery crash was horrific and Hughes was lucky to survive, thanks in part to Marine Sergeant William Durkin, who was nearby and pulled him from the wreckage. As gratitude for saving his life, Howard Hughes gave Durkin the control yoke from the plane. Six months after the crash he also wrote a letter of thanks to Durkin, who was stationed in China at that time. In the letter Hughes asks Durkin about his future plans and, as indicated by the items up for sale, plans for a restaurant had been started. Also available is the two-page narrative of the crash from the perspective of Durkin. Read more

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