Bob Hoover: The Pilot's Pilot

Robert A ‘Bob’ Hoover loved flying so much he once said: “Hell, I would fly an old Dodge truck if they put wings on the side.” Born on January 22, 1922, at age 15 he would cycle to Berry Field some 15 miles from his home near Nashville, Tennessee, to watch the aeroplanes.

Dreaming of becoming a famous pilot like Charles Lindbergh, he bagged groceries for US$2 (just over $30 today) a day to pay for flying lessons. However, his aviation career was almost over before it began, when he discovered that flying made him incredibly nauseous. He wrote in his 1996 autobiography Forever Flying: “I had to overcome airsickness. I not only wanted to be an aviator, but a fighter pilot like Eddie Rickenbacker [the top scoring US ace of World War One]. To ‘lick’ the motion sickness, I pushed myself to the limit by doing wingovers, stalls and spins.

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