Forever Flyingby Robert A. Hoover, Mark Shaw
Barnstormer, World War II fighter, test pilot, aerobatic genius -- Bob Hoover is a living aviation legend, the man General James "Jimmy" Doolittle called "the greatest stick and rudder pilot who ever lived." Hoover's career spans the history of American aviation, and now he tells his amazing story with all the flat-out honesty and gusto that have made his life an extraordinary adventure.
At twenty-two, Hoover was a decorated World War II fighter pilot, already famous both for his aerobatic abilities -- including looping under a bridge in Tunisia -- and for surviving seventeen equipment-failure crash landings as a test pilot. Then the Germans knocked his Mark V Spitfire out of the sky. He made three attempts to escape en route to the infamous Stalag I prison camp, and after sixteen brutal months, finally escaped by stealing a German plane and flying it to Holland.
After the war, Hoover tested the first jets at Wright Field, dogfighting Chuck Yeager, the man who'd come to call him "Pard." In the quest to break the sound barrier in the Bell X-1, Hoover endured every step of the grueling G-force training along with Yeager. But soon after Yeager's historic flight, Hoover broke both his legs in a desperate bailout from a blazing F-84 Thunderjet -- dashing his dreams of flying the X-1 himself.
In Forever Flying, we relive the thrills and danger Hoover continued to face as a civilian test pilot: testing the first jets to take off and land aboard aircraft carriers; flying bombing runs over North Korea; and demonstrating new planes for fighter pilots, who had to be warned not to attempt to duplicate Hoover's spectacular spins, stalls, and rolls. He became an adviser to engineering on the X-15 rocket, and rose through the corporate ranks, famed for flying his daring aerobatics routines in a business suit and straw hat instead of a pilot's "G suit."
Bob Hoover has flown more than 300 types of aircraft, dazzled crowds at more than 2,000 air shows all over the world, and is still flying today. He's set both transcontinental and "time to climb" speed records, and known such great aviators as Orville Wright, Eddie Rickenbacker, Charles Lindbergh, Jacqueline Cochran, Neil Armstrong, and Yuri Gagarin, who saved Hoover from the KGB at an international aerobatics competition in Moscow during the height of the Cold War.
Spiced by reminiscences from fellow fliers, friends, and his wife, all of whom recount Hoover's devilish practical jokes as well as his death-defying flights, Forever Flying reveals the magnificent true story of a great American hero.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Hoover (who turned 74 last January) learned to fly as a teenager. When the US entered WW II, Hoover became an army pilot (albeit as a sergeant, not a commissioned officer). Posted overseas, he flew 58 successful missions in British-made Spiatfires before being shot from the unfriendly skies over Nice, France. Having endured 16 months as a POW in the infamous Stalag 1, the intrepid birdman stole a Luftwaffe F-190 and winged his way to freedom. Back in the US, Hoover embarked on an eventful career as a test pilot, flying experimental aircraft for the US Air Force. Among other memorable moments he recalls with the help of USA Today columnist Shaw, is his experience as Chuck Yeager's backup on the epic 1947 flight during which the X-1 first broke the sound barrier. Although Hoover left the military for private industry in 1949, he was in the thick of aerial combat over Korea, demonstrating the F-86's capabilities as a dive bomber. Since then, Hoover has made a heady living on the global barnstorming circuit, performing spectacular feats of aerobatics and becoming known as King of the Air Shows. The holder of several speed records and recipient of countless honors, he has rubbed shoulders and wingtips with many of aviation's greats: Neil Armstrong, Jacqueline Cochran, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and more. He has appreciably fewer fond memories of the Federal Aviation Administration, which grounded him in 1992. With more than a little help from his many friends, however, the aging pilot won this dogfight last October and is again licensed to solo in this country.
An exciting and engrossing memoir from one of aviation's more engaging pioneers.
- Atria Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.69(w) x 9.84(h) x (d)
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I bought my dad this book for his birthday and he has already read it over 3 times. Awesome book
'From airshow left, Bob will shut down both engines on his turbo shrike, dive into ground effect, then pull up into a engine out roll!', the Reno Air Race announcer stated. 'This guys nuts!', I thought knowing full well what the fatal consequences could be...never the less I watched with wide eyed anticipation. After the 5 or 10 minuite demonstration had been completed, the pilot taxied up in front of the grandstands to give everyone a big thumbs up. To my astonishment, the body that appeared didn't belong to a lean young military aviator, but to a grey elderly fellow in his 70's! I'll never forget that moment...the first experience I had to witness the greatest pilot to ever shake the stick and push the rudder pedals perform - Bob Hoover. This book is a must read for anyone, pilot or not. Bob Hoover has lived the life that we have all dreamt about at on time or another. From Shooting up the Germans in WWII, to piloting experimental test aircraft, Bob has really done it all. A legendary man, born in a legendary time, who has led a legendary life.....R.A. Bob Hoover.