On Friday, aviation legend Bob Hoover spoke at the EAA Museum. I’ve heard parts of his life story before, but there’s always a few new, or forgotten, items brought up.
Bob was a test pilot during WWII. He relentlessly kept working for a combat assignment, but his flying skills were in too much demand testing planes before they became operational. One assignment had him testing planes after they were repaired from battle damage. Another period had him testing the first 60 P-51’s that were going to North Africa.
He finally got that combat assignment in Algiers, but then got reassigned to training and ferry flights. He led a flight of P-40’s from Algiers to Sicily.
During a mission, he was attacked by Folke-Wolfe 190’s. He felt that one that was 90 degrees to him wasn’t a threat since that would have to be a very difficult shot to make, but he did get hit. He had to invert the plane to bail out, but he came out of that uninjured.
After the war he was able to use his experience test flying planes that were built by the enemy.
If you ever get the opportunity to hear Bob speak, I recommend not letting the opportunity pass by. You’ll probably regret missing him.