Tue, Jul 31, 2012
One Of Aviations' Legends Offers His Perspective About Aviation Innovation
By Maria Morrison
The freak storm that blew through Oshkosh Thursday morning brought greener grass, a break from the heat, and an opportunity to meet the famous pilot, Bob Hoover. To be saved from driving an open golf cart in the pouring rain, a friend and I picked up Bob Hoover and his friend. On the way over, we saw the GoodYear blimp. I asked about his blimp-flying experience, and he told us lots of great stories.
Hoover said that, when he flew blimps, you had to anticipate the sink rate of the blimp, causing it to take lots of thinking and estimates. Landing was worse when the weather was calm because the blimp would land, then bounce about 25 feet in the air, with the people holding on to the ropes dangling in the air.
Another question that I asked him was if he thought there would ever be a period of airplane innovation like WWII. He answered yes, because there is a lot of hypersonic flight and heat problems with planes like the X15. Neil Armstrong flew to Mach 6 with a heating problem so bad that the surface of the his rocket was almost 3500 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the rocket had skis for landing, it did have a rubber tire in front. That wheel needed ... and had ... extreme air conditioning, much more than we needed at Oshkosh (but not much, ed.), so that it would not melt.
Things were white hot during that flight, but through the careful science and technology, everything went as planned. As for his use of technology, halfway through our chat he whipped out his phone and called his wife, dialing faster than some of my friends can.
“I will not be here when it happens,” says Bob Hoover, “but there will be a fix to all of these problems soon, I am sure of it.”
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