Oh the song of the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
On the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up her soil
With our teardrops and our toil …
Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian Railroad Trilogy
click images for web links to biographical backgrounds
Bob Hoover has often been called the “pilot’s pilot”. He was a test pilot in World War II, then joining a Spitfire fighter group. He was shot down on his 59th mission and spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Germany.
After the war Hoover teamed up with Chuck Yeager on the Bell X-1 program, for which Hoover was backup pilot. He saw action in Korea in the F-86 Sabre jet. He also flew test flights in the F-100 Super Sabre and other advanced fighters of the day.
Mention the legendary name “Bob Hoover” around a group of pilots, and no one else will get a word in edgewise all evening. Hoover flew a lot of different aircraft, and flew them all masterfully.
He is best-known for his years as a star performer in the civil air shows. I was fortunate to watch Hoover perform in his Aero Shrike Commander at the Reno Air Races, in about 1978. You can still find videos on YouTube, and you should. I still remember seeing those sequences. I still get the goose-bumps. Hoover was not only the consummate pilot, he was a real gentleman. He was one of my heroes.