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Renowned 'Gentleman Pilot' Bob Hoover to be Honored for Lifelong Excellence in Aviation

Feb. 6, 2014

The storied legacy of famed World War II aviator, accomplished test pilot and renowned air show performer Robert "Bob" Hoover will be celebrated later this month at the Paramount Studios Theater in Los Angeles, CA. "A Tribute to Bob Hoover: A Lifetime of Excellence" will also feature the introduction of the first nine honorees to the Hoover Hall of Honor, recognized by the aviation legend for their own noteworthy aviation and aerospace accomplishments.

"Bob wanted to leave a legacy for the future generations in aviation, and to honor other pioneers of flight he's known through the years who are worthy of permanent recognition," noted Tom Poberezny, former air show performer, former chairman and president of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and member of the tribute event's host committee. "So, this evening isn't only a way to thank Bob for his lifetime of contributions to aviation, but also to acknowledge his ongoing role as an inspiration for other pilots and aviation professionals."

Known as the "Gentleman Pilot," Hoover is a familiar presence at events throughout the aviation community. This includes his participation at NBAA's annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, where Hoover helps to present the National Aviation Hall of Fame's annual Combs Gates Award, recognizing efforts to honor aviation history, research and preservation.

The Feb. 21 gathering will include the premiere of new documentary highlighting Hoover's legacy. Narrated by actor and pilot Harrison Ford, the film will spotlight Hoover's life, including his service during WWII and time as a prisoner-of-war after being shot down off the coast of southern France. After 16 months in a German POW camp, Hoover escaped captivity by flying a commandeered German Focke-Wulf Fw190 to freedom.

Upon his return to the United States, Hoover flew captured German and Japanese aircraft for the Flight Evaluation Group at Wright Field in Dayton, OH. He also flight-tested fighter and pursuit aircraft developed for the nascent U.S. Air Force, including the earliest jets such as the North American FJ-2 Fury, F-86D Sabre all-weather interceptor, and F-100 Super Sabre.

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Purple Heart for his military service, Hoover later transitioned to civilian exhibitions, including the Reno Air Races and captaining the U.S. Aerobatic Team in the 1966 International Competition in Moscow. He is perhaps best known for his amazing demonstrations of aerobatic capability and energy management in his Shrike Commander light twin-engine business aircraft.

Among those scheduled to attend the tribute include Cirrus Design co-founder Dale Klapmeier, baseball great Ken Griffey Jr., and country singer Dierks Bentley, who will perform the national anthem. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen will attend, as will leaders from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, EAA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International and the National Air Transportation Association.

A limited number of tickets are available, with proceeds used towards scholarships awarded in Hoover's name. Learn more about the Tribute to Bob Hoover.