Cosmic Muffin Soars into the Digital Age – Part II
Lakeland, FL (June 18, 2018) – Researchers from The Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEx) at the University of South Florida returned to the Aerospace Center for Excellence last week to complete the exterior scans of the Cosmic Muffin.
A Better View
In order to complete the scans the team needed to get a birds eye view of the craft. Ever ready to lend a hand, the SUN n’ FUN maintenance team was there with a lift and driver to facilitate the process. Having an on-site maintenance team with the ability to provide these kinds of services saves the Aerospace Center for Excellence thousands of dollars in outside costs. Those savings can then be invested in our educational programs and exhibit development.
With the scans completed, the IDEx researchers will begin to synthesize the images and data in order to create a multi-dimensional digital model of the Cosmic Muffin. This model will allow Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum the opportunity to share this historic artifact with our community while it retains limited access due to restoration. Additionally, the model can be used in preparing proposals for future restoration projects that can be shared with potential donors.
The Cosmic Muffin
In 1939, Howard Hughes began plans to fly a goodwill tour of the major world capitals. For that purpose, Hughes paid $315,000 for a Boeing 307 Stratoliner (NC19904). Based on the B-17 Flying Fortress, the SB-307 could fly to altitudes of twenty thousand feet and was the first four-engine airplane to carry a flight engineer as a normal part of its crew. Only ten Boeing 307s were ever built and Hughes’ featured so many modifications that the aircraft was given the designation SB-307B.
A Florida based company had possession of the plane in 1964 when it sustained significant tail and wing damage during Hurricane Cleo. Not worth the cost to repair, the plane was stripped of its engines and set for a dimmer fate until Ken London intervened. London removed what was left of the tail and wings and spent five years converting it to a motor yacht. In 1974 it was launched as the Londonaire. The plane-boat had twin V-8 engines which were linked to the original aircraft cockpit controls and was a common sight along the canals across South Florida. In 1981 the Londonaire was sold to Dave Drimmer and later renamed The Cosmic Muffin.
Want to know more? See our previous entry by clicking here.
Stay tuned to see the outcome of the work being done and to take a virtual tour of the Cosmic Muffin! If you would like to donate to the continued restoration of the Cosmic Muffin please feel free to contact the museum manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863.904.4042