Aviation Legend Bob Hoover Dies at 94

Bob Hoover speaks at a 2011 Warbirds in Review session at Oshkosh. Also pictured is his P-51 Mustang, Ole Yeller. EAA

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.

Bob Hoover, right, with Harrison Ford, who was featured in Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project. Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project

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.


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