News of the death of legendary test pilot and aerobatics pioneer Bob Hoover this morning has brought grief to the aviation community.
Hoover, known among his many fans as the “pilot’s pilot,” died at about 2 a.m. PT, according to reports. He was 94 years old.
Hoover’s flying career began when he was a teenager. He soon enlisted and flew in World War II as a fighter pilot. After being shot down off the coast of southern France and spending 16 months in a German POW camp, he famously escaped by stealing a Fw190 fighter and flying it to the Netherlands.
He went on to become a U.S. Air Force test pilot alongside Chuck Yeager and later revolutionized aerobatics with his airshow routines in his instantly recognizable green and white Shrike Commander and yellow P-51 Mustang. The movie Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project recounts his entire storied career in detail.
In addition to being one of the most accomplished pilots who ever lived, Hoover was also universally beloved by pilots and aviation enthusiasts. As news of his death broke this morning, the aviation world took to social media to mourn, share memories and wish one of the greatest aviators of all time blue skies.
Sadden by the death of the famed R.A. "Bob" Hoover, one of the truly great ones. Died at 2 a.m. PDT today while telling one of his stories.— Tom Haines (@tomhaines29) October 25, 2016
Bob Hoover was one of the most accomplished pilots ever. Most aviation legends have drawbacks, but I never heard a bad word about Hoover.— Zach Rosenberg (@ZachInFlight) October 25, 2016