Saluting his iconic aerobatic career along with heroic service in World War II, EAA AirVenture 2011 will honor Bob Hoover with a special day of recognition on July 26, part of the 59th annual edition of “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” on July 25-31 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
Hoover, a 1988 inductee to the National Aviation Hall of Fame, is best known for his air show performances in a Shrike Commander and P-51 Mustang (pictured) and in a flying career dating back to World War II. The “Tribute to Bob Hoover” Day on Tuesday, July 26, will feature an afternoon air show with many of the legendary aircraft flown by Hoover over the years, in addition to programs chronicling his experiences and achievements.
“We are honored to pay tribute to one of the greatest aviators in history, Bob Hoover, as part of what’s building to be a very memorable AirVenture 2011,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA and AirVenture chairman. “Bob has been a fixture at our convention for decades. Everyone marvels at the aircraft and maneuvers synonymous with Bob, and will enjoy hearing about his experiences firsthand.”
Considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of modern aerobatics, Hoover enjoyed a remarkable air show and air racing career after flying 59 missions in World War II and escaping a POW camp by commandeering a German Focke-Wulf 190 in April 1945.
Upon his return to the U.S., Hoover enrolled in test pilot school, after which he flew a variety of aircraft from the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star to the Northrop N9M flying wing. He most famously worked with Chuck Yeager on the X-1 project, serving as backup pilot and was flying chase when Yeager broke the sound barrier.
Hoover, who served as the official starter at the Reno National Championship Air Races for three decades, began working for North American Aviation in 1950, where he tested and demonstrated the company’s civil and military aircraft. When the company merged with Rockwell International in 1968, he began demonstrating the strength of the Shrike Commander twin-engine business aircraft (pictured left), putting it through rolls, loops, and other maneuvers usually not associated with executive aircraft.
The Shrike Commander routine was renowned for its energy management as Hoover performed aerobatics with the engines stopped. As part of the finale, he shut down both engines, then executed a loop and an eight-point hesitation slow roll as he headed back to the runway, where he touched down on one tire, then the other, during landing. Hoover later added to his legend by pouring a cup of tea without it spilling while performing a slow barrel roll, video of which has been widely distributed among aviation enthusiasts.
In 1993, Hoover had his medical certificate pulled by the FAA, beginning a three-year fight against the FAA’s emergency revocation power. EAA joined Hoover in questioning FAA’s authority without due process, leading to his reinstatement in 1995. EAA’s efforts helped result in Congress passing the Hoover Bill in 2000, giving an FAA certificate holder the right to immediately appeal an emergency certificate revocation to the National Transportation Safety Board.
For more information: AirVenture.org