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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cosmic Muffin: The Plane-Turned-Boat You’ve Always Wanted


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When it came to planes, Howard Hughes was a visionary, though, not even he could have foreseen one of his planes being turned into a retro-styled boat in Florida, named the “Cosmic Muffin.”
The Boeing 807 Stratoliner was a groundbreaking aircraft. Based on the iconic B-17 bomber, it was the first commercial passenger aircraft to feature a pressurized cabin. Such a feat allowed it to fly higher than other airliners to avoid weather and turbulence.

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In 1938, pressurized cabin was not only safer, but considered a luxury at the time, and caught the attention of wealthy eccentric and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. He was also a womanizer, and turned his 807 into a flying penthouse. No, really, he named it the “Flying Penthouse.”

Hughes actually tried to use the 807 to break his own record for round-the-world flight, but the outbreak of WWII in Europe grounded his plans. The plane changed hands, and then in 1964 a hurricane damaged the 807, making it no longer flyable.

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A new owner took the airliner to Ft Lauderdale, where he set about converting it into a boat. His work was completed in 1974, calling it the “Cosmic Muffin.” It was restored with the original VIP-lounge interior, and even the flight controls operate the boat.

The plane boat (can’t really call it a boat plane) has been featured everywhere from CNN to Ripley’s believe it or not. The “Cosmic Muffin” caught the attention of Jimmy Buffet, who wrote the song “Desdemona’s Building a Rocket Ship,” and wrote it into his book “Where is Joe Merchant?”

If you are in Ft. Lauderdale and are feeling nostalgic about the Golden Age of flight, or are just looking for a really wild boat, track down the “Cosmic Muffin” and see it for yourself!

Photo Credit: Aviation Humor