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Celebration of Life Honors Legendary Aviator Bob Hoover

On November 18, Clay Lacy Aviation hosted a celebration of life event honoring famous military test and aerobatic stunt pilot Bob Hoover.  More than 1,000 guests shared fond remembrances and viewed flyovers honoring Hoover, who died on Oct. 25 at age 94. Hoover was a friend of VNY and made an indelible impact on the global aviation industry. A member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, he flew over 300 aircraft types and flight tested or flew nearly every type of fighter aircraft.

Hoover was born in Nashville, Tennessee on Jan. 24, 1922 and learned how to fly at a young age. A lieutenant in the Army Air Force, he flew 58 successful missions during World War II before his Spitfire fighter was shot down off the coast of southern France in 1944. He spent 16 months in a German prison camp before escaping during the final days of the war. He then trained to fly the Bell Aircraft X-1 with famous test pilot Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier in the rocket-powered plane over the Mojave Desert in 1947.

After leaving military service, Hoover became a test pilot for General Motors and then North American Aviation. He performed experimental flight test work on military jet fighters and demonstrated their capabilities to pilots across the world. He was the first to fly the XFJ-2 Fury Jet and the Navy’s T-28 Trainer. 

During his career, Hoover also thrilled crowds at air races and air shows across the country flying his signature yellow P-51 Mustang and Sabreliner jet. He held several aviation records and was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldiers Medal, Air Medal and Purple Heart.