The ripsnorting autobiography of R.A. (Bob) Hoover, a storied airman who belies the aviation adage that there are old pilots...


"FOREVER FLYING: Fifty Years of High-Flying Adventures, from Barnstorming in Prop Planes to Dogfighting Germans to Testing Supersonic Jets"

The ripsnorting autobiography of R.A. (Bob) Hoover, a storied airman who belies the aviation adage that there are old pilots and bold pilots but no old, bold pilots. 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.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996


Page Count: 291

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996