Legendary pilot Bob Hoover passed away on October 25, 2016. This is a profile that we did on him in 2015.
Late last year, Air Force test pilot Bob Hoover took to the skies in a Frys.com Saberliner-60 doing ‘one last roll’. Hoover is a living Aviation legend. He personally knew and interacted with folks like Yaeger, Jimmy Doolittle, Eddie Rickenbacker, and even Orville Wright himself. Born in 1922, Hoover first earned heroic status when he took to the skies during World War II. He became a POW after his Spitfire was shot down over southern France after a malfunction. After enduring 16 months of captivity, he escaped by stealing a Focke-Wulf 190. After the war, Hoover became a test pilot for the Air Force, flying chase ship for Chuck Yeager during Yeager’s famous X-1 flight that broke the sound barrier and teaching tactics over Korea.
Bob Hoover is best known for his flying prowess in the air show circuit. He flew the P-51 Mustang and later the Aero Commander. During air shows he would wow crowds by flying aerobatics in what was thought to just be a turboprop commuter aircraft. He even once poured a glass of tea while doing a perfect barrel roll (see video below).
What makes this flight special is that Hoover had not publicly flown since 2000. His medical was revoked in the mid ’90s due to health concerns. He briefly regained his medical but retired at the turn of the century. As evidenced by this video, 93 year-old Hoover still has what it takes to be a ‘pilot’s pilot’.
You can learn more about Bob Hoover by checking out the Bob Hoover Project. A preview of the film is below: