Leadership From the Cockpit

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Robert A. “Bob” Hoover died Tuesday at the age of 94, a pioneer who paved the way for the future of aviation. Widely regarded as the “pilot’s pilot,” Hoover flew 58 missions during World War II before being shot down and spending 16 months as a prisoner of war. He escaped from the POW camp, stole a German FW-190, and flew back to Allied territory.

After the war, Hoover trained as a test pilot and was backup for Chuck Yeager during the testing of the Bell X-1’s push to break Mach 1. He later became an aerobatic pilot—first flying a P-51 Mustang and later his trademark Shrike Commander—thrilling millions over five decades with his flight maneuvers and “managed energy” routines, including single-engine and engine-out aerobatics. In his memory, ALPA pilots submitted their reflections and personal stories of the late Bob Hoover.

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