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Aero-TV: Remembering Bob Hoover

Legacy of a Titan

Robert (Bob) Anderson Hoover was a fighter pilot, test pilot, flight instructor, and air show superstar. More so, Bob Hoover was an icon of American military and civil aviation, and a man whose achievements in and out of the cockpit stand with those of Wiley Post, Richard Byrd, Chuck Yeager, Albert Scott Crossfield, and John Boyd.

Hoover flew Spitfires in the United States Army Air Force during the Second World War. In 1944, he was shot down off the coast of France and held for over a year in a German POW camp. Ill-suited to captivity, Hoover escaped his Nazi captors, eventually stealing an enemy aircraft and flying it to freedom. After the war, Hoover plied his outstanding airmanship to test piloting, flying chase for Chuck Yeager's 1947 Bell X-1 supersonic flight and working as a flight instructor for North American Aviation during the Korean War.

Best known, perhaps, for his prowess as an aerobatics pilot, Hoover dazzled airshow crowds for nearly half-a-century, and is looked upon to this day as one of the greatest stick-and-rudder aviators of all time. Over his long and storied life, Hoover was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Trophy, and numerous additional military and civilian accolades. In 1988, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Four years later, Hoover was granted a place along the Aerospace Walk of Honor. In 2013, three years before he passed at age 94, Flying Magazine ranked Hoover tenth on its list of aviation’s 51 greatest heroes.

Established to honor its eminently deserving namesake, the Hoover Society is the actualization of an ambition to bulwark the ethical and technical foundations of the aviation industry by setting and maintaining high standards of professionalism, offering guidance and educational programs to neophyte aviators and aerospace stakeholders, and acknowledging merit via awards and recognition. The Hoover Society’s resources include a vastness of information and intellectual property alternately gleaned and conceived of by Bob Hoover over a remarkable lifetime spanning the depths of war’s horrors and FAA persecution, and the summits of remarkable personal achievement, well-earned fame, the esteem of his peers, and the adoration of millions.

Cognizant of his mortality and the extent of his legacy, Bob Hoover, in his autumn years, entrusted a small group of close personal friends with the founding of the Hoover Society, a non-profit organization to which he bequeathed his likeness, awards, photos, documents, memoirs, and memorabilia—the entirety of which is currently being curated by Hoover’s longtime friend and San Diego Air and Space Museum Director Jim Kidrick.

Among the tasks currently before Mr. Kidrick and his fellow society members is the digitizing of Bob Hoover’s expansive archives—the wit and wisdom of which will serve as both inspiration and example to future generations of aviators.

Hoover’s memory and the enduring spirit of his humanity and generosity survive, also, in the Bob Hoover Legacy Foundation, which in partnership with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) presents the annual Bob Hoover Presidential Scholarship to ERAU students pursuing careers in the aviation industry.

Notwithstanding their tremendous depth and breadth, Bob Hoover was disinclined to speak extensively of his own achievements, stating: "I don't think I possess any skill that anyone else doesn't have. I've just had perhaps more of an opportunity, more of an exposure, and been fortunate to survive a lot of situations that many others weren't so lucky to make it. It's not how close can you get to the ground, but how precise can you fly the airplane."

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated.

©2023 Aero-News Network, Inc., ALL Rights Reserved




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