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
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
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.