He acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines and later acquired Air West, renaming it Hughes Airwest.
Hughes was included in Flying Magazine's list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation, ranked at The birthplace of Howard Hughes is recorded as either Humble or Houston, Texas.
Hughes withdrew from Rice University shortly after his father's death.
On June 1, 1925, he married Ella Botts Rice, daughter of David Rice and Martha Lawson Botts of Houston.
He later attended math and aeronautical engineering courses at Caltech. Their deaths apparently inspired Hughes to include the creation of a medical research laboratory in the will that he signed in 1925 at age 19.
His mother Allene died in March 1922 from complications of an ectopic pregnancy. Howard Sr.'s will had not been updated since Allene's death, and Hughes inherited 75% of the family fortune.
He first made a name for himself as a film producer, and then became an influential figure in the aviation industry.
Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle—oddities that were caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain from several plane crashes, and increasing deafness.
However, his certificate of baptism recorded on October 7, 1906, in the parish register of St.
John's Episcopal Church in Keokuk, Iowa, listed his birth as September 24, 1905 without any reference to the place of birth.
His father had patented the two-cone roller bit, which allowed rotary drilling for petroleum in previously inaccessible places.
The senior Hughes made the shrewd and lucrative decision to commercialize the invention by leasing the bits instead of selling them, obtained several early patents, and founded the Hughes Tool Company in 1909.
Hughes' uncle was the famed novelist, screenwriter, and film director Rupert Hughes.
The Summa Corporation was the name adopted for the business interests of Howard Hughes after he sold the tool division of Hughes Tool Company in 1972.