America’s pilot Bob Hoover passes at 94

bob-hoover-wwiiFrom MPRNews.com::

Bob Hoover, one of history’s greatest pilots, dead at 94

by Bob Collins

One of the greatest pilots in the history of aviation died this morning, according to reports.

Bob Hoover, a World War II fighter pilot, a former Air Force test pilot, and the chase plane pilot for Chuck Yeager when he broke the sound barrier for the first time, was 94.

A lot of the greatest pilots who ever lived will tell you that Hoover was the greatest pilot who ever lived.

bob-hoover-aero-commanderAnd he was, if you were ever lucky enough to witness a Bob Hoover performance at an air show in the United States when he flew, for example, his Shrike Aero Commander. As destiny would have it, I was sufficiently lucky to have seen Bob Hoover a full five times.

As a German POW, Hoover escaped Germany by stealing an airplane. Balls of steel.

After being shot down in 1944, Hoover spent 16 months in a Stalag Luft I, a German prisoner of war camp on the northeastern coast of Germany, according to the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Hoover jumped a barbed wire fence while the guards were distracted by a staged fight. He stole a lightly-damaged Focke-Wulf Fw 190, flying it to freedom before ditching the plane in a field in the Netherlands.

bob_hoover_t28b_sm

Bob Hoover’s North American T-28 Trojan trainer.

AOPA.com writes:

The winner of hundreds of military and aviation awards, including the prestigious Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in 2014, Hoover died Oct. 25 in Los Angeles at age 94. While frail in recent years, he lived at home and relatively pain free until the last few days, according to close friends.

Known for his ability to tell one engaging aviation story after another, Hoover loved interacting with pilots and prospective pilots, often going out of his way to speak to children, encouraging them to follow their dreams. “Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it,” Hoover said during the presentation of the Wright Trophy. “You learn how to do it. You figure out how to do it. And you are the only one who can make it happen…. Don’t give up if that’s what you really wish to do.”

Let us look at Bob Hoover in action. In 1986, for example, when the below video was shot, Bob Hoover was 64 years old. That, ladies and gentlemen — to be  blunt — is a stud.

How many people customarily performed actual aerobatics in a two-engine plane? Yes. That would be one: Bob Hoover.

bob-hoover-young-pilotHe was called the “best stick and rudder man who ever lived.” Hoover lived and survived by his senses — not like the digital pilots of today whose human-to-metal contact is limited by electrons and joysticks and glass cockpit screens. You don’t truly “fly” a plane today — you mostly program it and wait for the autopilot to take charge. You are a human “course changer” and “altitude changer.” You are a backup. You are extraneous. The difference, say, between Airbus and Boeing. Joysticks vs actual yokes.

bob-hoover-shrike-aerocommanderBob Hoover — who had to fight and conquer air sickness — became the kind of human whose spatial consciousness, inner ear and sense of presence exceeded that of 99.9% of most mortals. Today’s cockpit occupiers are primarily programmers entering numbers. They know it and it makes them simultaneously sad and appreciative to have, truly, the very last jobs in aviation before fully autonomous aircraft take over.

bob-hoover-blue-skiesThey know it. And they all wish they’d been Bob Hoover.

CNN.com wrote:

A precise aviator, Hoover famously was able to pour a glass of iced tea in the middle of a barrel role. Hoover’s famous green and white stunt plane sits prominently under the wing of the Concorde supersonic airliner at the National Air and Space Museum Annex in Chantilly, Va.

God bless you, Robert Anderson “Bob” Hoover.

Just as UNBROKEN documents the life and times of WWII hero Louis Zamperini, Hoover’s book FOREVER FLYING documents the incredible life of Bob Hoover.

God bless you, R.A, “Bob” Hoover.

When a person gets to do what one actually loves to do, they are truly blessed.

Fair skies and following winds. Be forever flying, sir.

BZ

P.S.
I love you, dad.

dad-standing-propeller-a

Nancy Reagan passes at age 94

Ronald Reagan Funeral Nancy At CasketFrom CNN.com:

(CNN)   Former first lady Nancy Reagan, who joined her husband on a storybook journey from Hollywood to the White House, died Sunday.

She was 94.

Reagan died at her home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure, according to her spokeswoman, Joanne Drake of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. Prior to the funeral service, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to pay their respects at the Library,” Drake said in a statement.

Ronald and Nancy ReaganSay what you will of Nancy Reagan — and the world is filled with her detractors — there was no wife more supportive of a husband than her.  She adored Ronald Reagan with all her might.  It was truly an American love story.

Any husband would be lucky to have a wife so devoted.

Ronald Reagan Uzi Out of BriefcaseIt was this day that hastened the death of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

A bit of Conservatism died with Ronald Reagan in 2004, at the age of 93.  His wife managed to live another year longer than her husband, and another 12 years longer after his passing.

Nancy Reagan is survived by Patti Davis and Ron Reagan — her two children with Ronald Reagan — and Michael Reagan, a son from Ronald Reagan’s first marriage to Jane Wyman. Maureen Reagan, Ronald Reagan’s daughter with Jane Wyman, died in 2001.

Nancy Reagan will be buried alongside her husband at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.

BZ

 

Meadowlark Lemon passes

Meadowlark_Lemon_Signed_16x20A sad day indeed.

He was 83.

As part of the Harlem Globetrotters, I went to watch him play many times at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacratomato.

From CNN.com:

Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, famed hoops jester, dies at 83

by Brandon Griggs

(CNN) George “Meadowlark” Lemon, the basketball star who entertained millions of fans around the world with his antics as a longtime member of the Harlem Globetrotters, died Sunday in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 83.

Lemon played 24 seasons and by his own estimate more than 16,000 games with the Globetrotters, the touring exhibition basketball team known for its slick ball-handling, practical jokes, red-white-and-blue uniforms and multiyear winning streaks against overmatched opponents.

He also was one of a handful of Globetrotters whose fame transcended sports, especially among children during the team’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. Lemon was immortalized in a Harlem Globetrotters cartoon series and appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” episodes of “Scooby Doo” and many national TV commercials.

Another piece of the past goodness and simpler times of America dies.

God bless you, George Lemon.

Let’s watch you at work.

You thrilled and entertained for years sir.  Rest in peace.

BZ

 

Patrick Macnee passes at age 93

Avengers 1961From BBC.com:

Avengers star Patrick Macnee dies

Actor Patrick Macnee, star of The Avengers TV series, has died in California at the age of 93.

The Briton, best known for playing John Steed in the 1960s television spy series, died at home with his family at his bedside, his son Rupert said.

Macnee also played roles in theatre, appearing on Broadway, and served in the Royal Navy during World War Two.

A statement on the actor’s website read: “Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories.”

He died peacefully at his home in California’s Rancho Mirage on Thursday, Rupert said.

A favorite television show of mine in the 1960s, I concomitantly fell in love with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel — who currently plays Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

BZ