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N328KF
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Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:58 pm

Check this out:

http://www.au.af.mil/au/goe/Templates/eagle_bios/2002/hoover_2002.html

Yeager (per his own bio) escaped the Nazis and rescued another flyer (amputating that flier's leg in the process). During the process, he also made bombs (we would now call them IEDs) for the French resistance. Hoover spent several months in a camp, escaped, and stole an Fw-190 (which he had never flown) to freedom. Badasses of the same calibre? What happened to that Fw-190?

EDIT: Fixed ambiguity.

[Edited 2008-04-16 11:05:07]
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Jackonicko
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:12 pm

Read Yeager's book and you'd think (as he does) that he was the greatest of all time.

But he bad-mouthed countless good men and b*ll**itted wildly - after he'd flown the X-4 and found it wanting he insisted that they 'junked it then and there' - which must be news to the other X-4 pilots, who flew many missions after him, and who suggested only that the aircraft did require a pilot with 'finesse'.

It's a pity, because if you can put aside the boasting and tall tales, Yeager was a giant, whose achievements were legion and considerable. Just not in the same class as some of those he bad-mouthed - most notably Frank 'Pete' Everest.

And yes, he was a shining light within the 357th FG, just not as bright a light as Carson, England, Anderson, Peterson, Foy or Bochkay.......

Having watched his Mustang and Commander displays, I'd say that Hoover could fly rings around Yeager. Jimmy Doolittle agrees describing Hoover as "... the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived." (He's wrong, of course - that honour should go to Jan Zurakowski, Neil Williams, or perhaps even Ray Hanna).
 
DODCFR
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:37 pm

There are some people I know who refer to Chuck Yeager as "Anything for a Buck Chuck". He earned this name by charging the firefighters a dollar for an autograph. And this was after he kicked all of the firefighters out of their dayroom during an airshow. But I don't mean to sell him short because he did acomplish a great many things.
 
MissedApproach
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:59 pm



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 1):
the aircraft did require a pilot with 'finesse'

That reminds me of an account I read which said he had "mishandled" the F-104 during his altitude record attempt, resulting in a full departure & the loss of the airplane. I wish I could remember where I read that...

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 1):
that honour should go to Jan Zurakowski, Neil Williams, or perhaps even Ray Hanna

Yay! http://www.avroarrow.org/AvroArrow/JanZurakowski.html
Can you hear me now?
 
L-188
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:24 am



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 1):
was a giant, whose achievements were legion and considerable.

And only because he was an instrumented aircraft. It is pretty much accepted that George Welch beat Yeager to the sound barrier on at least 3 occasions with the XP-86, later the F-86A Sabre including a flight he made on the morning prior to Yeagers famous flight.

He just didn't have an instrumented aircraft to record the event and the USAF didn't want to advertise the fact that they just blew a bunch of money on the X-1, when their new fighter just did the thing the X-1 was designed to do.

The F-86A was proven to be supersonic in a dive, and Welch, as I said was able to get the same behaviors out of the prototype that line pilots in the F-86 reported when they where supersonic.

Quoting MissedApproach (Reply 3):
That reminds me of an account I read which said he had "mishandled" the F-104 during his altitude record attempt, resulting in a full departure & the loss of the airplane. I wish I could remember where I read that...

You are thinking of Tom Wolfes "The Right Stuff"

Actually Yeager doesn't deserve the blame for that loss.
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fridgmus
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:19 am

Great pilots, one and all.

But my favorite will always be Scott Crossfield. He and Yeager did not get along, but they respected each other's abilities.

RIP Scott.

F
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TedTAce
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:58 am

Hoover is the man, game, set, match. I was lucky enough to see him fly the commander and his jet (forgot what it was) @ ISM 'with' the Thunderbirds about 20 years ago. Awesome show, I learned a lot about 'energy management' from it. I'll never forget.
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ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:00 am



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 1):
Read Yeager's book and you'd think (as he does) that he was the greatest of all time.

My copy of Yeager's book is twenty years old and I am still only about half way through it. ...I have never been a great reader of books, but also Yeager is so full of himself and so full of b.llsh.t I can't swallow more than a few pages at a time. Also it occurs to me that since the book was written for him, that he lacked the intelligence to write it himself.

Having said that he obviously was born with sufficient judgement and dexterity to handle some fairly awesome flying machines. Although in the case of the Bell X1, I have to think equally skilled but more intelligent pilots would surely have preferred to back away from that machine, especially when faced with pushing it through the sound barrier for the first time.

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From what I have read of Yeager I have gained an inkling or suspicion that he may not quite have had the ultimate finesse that the very best "stick and rudder" guys are capable of displaying. But after the war he had deliberately taken every possible opportunity to fly very many different aircraft types and I think that fund of experience and valuable practice is quite likely to have blurred any distinction between Yeager's "raw handling skill" and that of any other hotshot. "Practice makes perfect" ...as they say.

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Obviously Yeager has massive confidence in his own ability and he seems to have been fearless in the air. I suspect that it was those traits that were first and foremost in enabling him to face down some very dangerous moments in his career. As for his personality, well I very much doubt that many people can have found him to be good company and his book certainly suggests when he was young, that he was frequently pulling dumb ass stunts that could quite easily have got someone hurt. ...And it is on that score that Yeager probably formed a mutual self appreciation society with Bob Hoover.

In the book Bob Hoover flying chase in a Shooting Star is criticised by Yeager for deliberately buzzing him whilst on his first ride in the X1 and still attached to the B29 mother ship. ...So close Yeager says that as he ran his checks just prior to release from the B29, Hoover's jet exhaust nearly knocked him loose instead. ...If that isn't dumb ass jerking around I don't know what is!
 
MD-90
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:12 am



Quoting N328KF (Thread starter):
Badasses of the same calibre?

Yeager was a badass, and so was Hoover, but as aviators I would definitely rank Hoover over Yeager for several reasons.

Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 7):
Also it occurs to me that since the book was written for him, that he lacked the intelligence to write it himself.

That's a bit unfair. Many perfectly intelligent people aren't good enough writers to write an entire book.

Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 7):
In the book Bob Hoover flying chase in a Shooting Star is criticised by Yeager for deliberately buzzing him whilst on his first ride in the X1 and still attached to the B29 mother ship. ...So close Yeager says that as he ran his checks just prior to release from the B29, Hoover's jet exhaust nearly knocked him loose instead. ...If that isn't dumb ass jerking around I don't know what is!

Frankly I'd be inclined to doubt Yeager's account about that.
 
L-188
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:28 pm



Quoting MD-90 (Reply 8):
Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 7):
In the book Bob Hoover flying chase in a Shooting Star is criticised by Yeager for deliberately buzzing him whilst on his first ride in the X1 and still attached to the B29 mother ship. ...So close Yeager says that as he ran his checks just prior to release from the B29, Hoover's jet exhaust nearly knocked him loose instead. ...If that isn't dumb ass jerking around I don't know what is!


Frankly I'd be inclined to doubt Yeager's account about that.

Truth be told, Hoover was supposed to be flying the X-1 but got busted for something in the weeks prior, making Yeager the #1 pilot and Hoover the backup.

And if Yeager had told somebody he broke his ribs falling off a horse the night before Hoover would have made the flight anyway.
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ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:45 pm



Quoting MD-90 (Reply 8):
That's a bit unfair. Many perfectly intelligent people aren't good enough writers to write an entire book.

Perhaps I'll give you that, ...on reflection I guess you need a fairly strong inclination and commitment towards writing in order to complete a whole book.
 
ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:26 am



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 1):
Jimmy Doolittle agrees describing Hoover as "... the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived." (He's wrong, of course - that honour should go to Jan Zurakowski, Neil Williams, or perhaps even Ray Hanna).

I have two of Neil Williams books, ...acquired after seeing him fly at an airshow at Sywell near Northampton in 1977. I had watched with much interest as the renowned British aerobatic champion displayed a Bucker Jungmann.

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As he finished his routine and came into land I was aware that most of the crowd had stopped looking at the small biplane. But I remained curious and pushed up on to my toes to see over the heads of those in front of me. I wished to see Neil Williams land the Jungmann and which I was aware had a reputation as being tricky in that respect.

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He proceeded to wheel the vintage biplane on flat, ...but the wheels remained in contact with the turf only very briefly. ..."To my utter astonishment" and in the blink of an eye, Neil hauled his machine back into the air and "flick rolled" it. Then immediately on recovery he settled the biplane back on to the grass for a perfect 3 point landing.

"It remains to this day the bravest and most extraordinary stunt that I have ever witnessed in my life"
 
ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Thu May 08, 2008 3:50 am



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 1):

Having watched his Mustang and Commander displays, I'd say that Hoover could fly rings around Yeager. Jimmy Doolittle agrees describing Hoover as "... the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived." (He's wrong, of course - that honour should go to Jan Zurakowski, Neil Williams, or perhaps even Ray Hanna).

Ray Hanna may very well be the outstanding aviator mentioned on this thread. Especially since he led the Red Arrows for four consecutive years and which is a record for the maintenance of that position. There are two obvious conclusions :- ...1st that the RAF establishment favoured and trusted him.
and 2nd that eight other carefully chosen "Reds" who would also be "well above average air force pilots" were impressed by both his leadership and aircraft handling skill.

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About six years ago I saw Ray Hanna display the actual Spitfire seen in the photo below at the Wanaka Airshow here in New Zealand.

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It was far and away the most spectacular and exciting routine that I have ever seen flown in a Spitfire. He flew that "Spit" the way it was meant to be flown. ...And it was all the more impressive because I figured that Ray was well over 70 years of age at the time.
 
Jackonicko
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Thu May 08, 2008 9:50 am

Ray was perhaps the ultimate showman, though Neil Williams was just as good, and perhaps a more complete 'aviator'.

In the Lightning and Typhoon, I've never seen anything to equal Keith Hartley's displays.

In his more narrow field, Brian Lecomber (who I flew with in a Stampe), is an equally impressive airshow display pilot.
 
KPDX
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Thu May 08, 2008 1:36 pm

I'm certain he is not very close to Hoover in terms of flight skills, but I'm pretty amazed no one has talked about John Mohr! That guy can fly a Stearman like no one else. Go to 9:40 for example.  Smile



[Edited 2008-05-08 06:40:03]
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Thu May 08, 2008 6:01 pm

Hoover was definitely a better pilot.

Quoting Fridgmus (Reply 5):
But my favorite will always be Scott Crossfield.

Although he didn't have the same war stories as Yeager, Crossfield was 5 times the pilot and 25 times the professional as Yeager. He was the first to break mach 2. Not to mention that with his Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering he designed and flew the X15. He not only had the balls, but the brains as well.
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ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Fri May 09, 2008 2:01 am



Quoting KPDX (Reply 14):
I'm certain he is not very close to Hoover in terms of flight skills, but I'm pretty amazed no one has talked about John Mohr! That guy can fly a Stearman like no one else.

Yes that video is impressive and well worth watching. ...But I have to think that is certainly not a stock Stearman and which originally would have been equipped with a 220hp Continental. Taking a guess I would say that aircraft has been re-equipped with a 450horsepower Pratt Whitney 985 + an inverted fuel system. Although the pilot is obviously skilled and well practised he is also very deliberately exploiting stacks of additional power in that airframe and which makes his performance look unusual and spectacular. I doubt he would look so impressive in a stock Stearman.
 
L-188
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Fri May 09, 2008 2:13 am

Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 16):
But I have to think that is certainly not a stock Stearman and which originally would have been equipped with a 220hp Continental. Taking a guess I would say that aircraft has been re-equipped with a 450horsepower Pratt Whitney 985 + an inverted fuel system.

One of the old issues of Sport Pilot in the john at work has an article about him.

It is a connie powering that stearman, you can clearly tell in the photos.

He talks about how he always wanted a 985 powered one but never got around to doing the conversion.

I think it said he paid 9 grand for the machine back in the 70's.

[Edited 2008-05-08 19:14:52]
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ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Fri May 09, 2008 2:20 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 17):

One of the old issues of Sport Pilot in the john at work has an article about him.

It is a connie powering that stearman, you can clearly tell in the photos.

He talks about how he always wanted a 985 powered one but never got around to doing the conversion.

OK, ...if you say so, but he must at least have done something with the Continental to make it keep running for so long inverted.
 
JeffSFO
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Fri May 09, 2008 8:06 am



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 1):
Having watched his Mustang and Commander displays, I'd say that Hoover could fly rings around Yeager. Jimmy Doolittle agrees describing Hoover as "... the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived." (He's wrong, of course - that honour should go to Jan Zurakowski, Neil Williams, or perhaps even Ray Hanna).

Don't forget John Boyd:

http://www.aviation-history.com/airmen/boyd.htm

I'm a big fan of Bob Hoover though. He comes across very humbly in this great video:

 
f4wso
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Fri May 09, 2008 1:02 pm



Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 16):
Yes that video is impressive and well worth watching. ...But I have to think that is certainly not a stock Stearman and which originally would have been equipped with a 220hp Continental. Taking a guess I would say that aircraft has been re-equipped with a 450horsepower Pratt Whitney 985 + an inverted fuel system. Although the pilot is obviously skilled and well practised he is also very deliberately exploiting stacks of additional power in that airframe and which makes his performance look unusual and spectacular. I doubt he would look so impressive in a stock Stearman.

He does use a stock engine. The 220 hp motor coughs and belches flames throughout his demonstration. I flew a trip with a relative of his who was telling me that the stock Stearman is his preference for aerobatics because it doesn't have the heavy nose that the 450 hp conversions have. The 450s have more vertical performance but the stock engine, with good energy management, is a aerobatic machine.

Because Yeager was from West Virginia, he was a boyhood hero of mine. It is a shame that his personality doesn't match his flying skills. I've seen Bob Hoover perform at shows in the Sabreliner and Commander and have seen him conduct himself as a real gentleman at the airshow galas. Scott Crossfield was another sterling individual that I held in hero status because I was fortunate to grow up when test pilots accomplishments were big news. I had opportunities to talk to him at the Dayton Air Fair, Civil Air Patrol National Congress of Aero Space Eduction, and at the X-15 40th anniversary at Edwards.

The Edwards show had the four X-15 pilots at a table signing autographs. The handlers were curt about keeping the line moving. I broke protocol when I asked Scott which hangar wall he taxied the F-100 into. He leaned back with a big grin and spun the whole story for us.

Over the years I have learned to respect individuals for their accomplishments but not suprised if they don't measure up in other areas.

Having met Gordo Cooper at the Air Force Museum, brings to mind, "Who's the greatest pilot you ever saw? You're looking at him."

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ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sat May 10, 2008 10:52 pm



Quoting F4wso (Reply 20):
He does use a stock engine. The 220 hp motor coughs and belches flames throughout his demonstration. I flew a trip with a relative of his who was telling me that the stock Stearman is his preference for aerobatics because it doesn't have the heavy nose that the 450 hp conversions have. The 450s have more vertical performance but the stock engine, with good energy management, is a aerobatic machine.

It appears I have underestimated the performance of a stock Stearman on 220hp. And on reflection I realise I might have only ever seen a Stearman fly at an airshow on one occasion in the past. ...Having said that I remain unconvinced that the aircraft seen in the video above has a stock fuel system. Simply because the pilot seems to be able to power through quite long periods of inverted flight. But I don't mean to take anything away from him by that comment and his performance is remarkable. ...I particularly liked his slow rolls and especially his eight point slow roll.
 
474218
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sat May 10, 2008 11:20 pm

Having met both gentlemen I don't think I would call either one a "Bad Ass". I met them about 20 years apart at Edwards AFB open houses.
 
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sun May 11, 2008 2:48 am



Quoting KPDX (Reply 14):
'm pretty amazed no one has talked about John Mohr! That guy can fly a Stearman like no one else

I actually got to fly with him once in his personal plane. Some friends of my folks were staying at their cabin who happened to be friends with John. He stopped in on his float plane for the day, and we ended up taking a tour of Lake Vermilion by air. Nice guy, never seen him fly an airshow though.
 
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N328KF
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sun May 11, 2008 3:14 am



Quoting 474218 (Reply 22):
Having met both gentlemen I don't think I would call either one a "Bad Ass". I met them about 20 years apart at Edwards AFB open houses.

What would you call two men who escaped capture or prisoner of war camps, achieved high levels of skills, and in one case, hauled a fellow flier to safety--having had to amputate that flier's leg?

It's not a reference to their personal temperament...
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474218
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sun May 11, 2008 3:28 am



Quoting N328KF (Reply 24):
What would you call two men who escaped capture or prisoner of war camps, achieved high levels of skills, and in one case, hauled a fellow flier to safety--having had to amputate that flier's leg?

It's not a reference to their personal temperament...

How about HEROS.
 
ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sun May 11, 2008 7:22 am



Quoting N328KF (Reply 24):
achieved high levels of skills, and in one case, hauled a fellow flier to safety--having had to amputate that flier's leg?

Something about Yeager's account of that in his book does not sit well with me. ...Although he strongly infers that he made a heroic effort to save his companion and who apparently did survive, Yeager had nevertheless abandoned the grievously wounded B-24 navigator before their ordeal was over. The account also feels depressingly absent of any compassion for a fellow officer who at the least had been horrendously maimed for life and who also must have been very close to death at the time.
 
IntruderPC
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:25 pm

Unfortunately, I never met Yeager or saw him fly. I did however read most of his book and see development as a plane jockey thru the accounts of fellow pilots and articles and accounts of 357FG and Korea days plus "The Right Stuff". I did meet Hoover and watched him fly his Commander show. I only got to say "hi" and shake his hand, but I listened to an interview for
a local station. Yeager, I think, can be described as brash, bold and fearless, but hardly "bad ass". Hoover was bold and fearless in his own way, but more calculating and definitely a consummate stick and rudder man. The one thing I am certain of, however is that there were many pilots, of all eras, who could fly just as well given the A/C they had and the training and technology available. Even extending to guys like Cunningham in 'Nam, Tommy Lynch, Don Blakeslee, and Dick Bong in WW2 etc, etc. Different times and circumstances breed different cats, -- but they're all still cats
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ferrypilot
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:40 am



Quoting IntruderPC (Reply 27):
The one thing I am certain of, however is that there were many pilots, of all eras, who could fly just as well given the A/C they had and the training and technology available.

I agree with that. Especially because ultimately I don't necessarily consider the "raw handling skill" necessary to be acknowledged as a great pilot to be anything extraordinary when referenced to other human abilities that require good dexterity. ..."It really isn't that difficult to pole an aircraft around"
 
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RE: Bob Hoover -- As Much Of A Badass As Yeager?

Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:30 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
Truth be told, Hoover was supposed to be flying the X-1 but got busted for something in the weeks prior, making Yeager the #1 pilot and Hoover the backup.

Not entirely correct. Yeager proposed Hoover as his backup to their common commander colonel Boyd. Col. Boyd asked him for the reason, and Yeager told him that Hoover was the best stick-and-rudder man he ever met. That's General Boyd's own words.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
And if Yeager had told somebody he broke his ribs falling off a horse the night before Hoover would have made the flight anyway.

Right. And Hoover should have flown the X-1, like many other people did later, including col. Boyd himself. But a minor incident unrelated to the X-1 program prevented that.

And BTW, all that "badmouthing" about Yeager, there are probably a lot of sour grapes along with that. It wasn't Yeager who wanted to become a hero. It was the Air Force which needed a national hero for their recruiting activities, and high command found that Yeager just happened to have the right qualities for that. He had after all been the first to fly the X-1 beyond Mach 1. He had no exceptional education. And he looked like an ordinary handsome young man. And not less important, family was in "good order", not one reporter could find a dot of dirt on his uniform. Parents were hard working self made churchgoers. Wife as beautiful as a model, and a few cute little kids.

The result was that when his at least as capable colleagues prepared for a tough and dangerous day in the desert, then often Yeager was commanded to pack his blue suit in the gun compartment of a P-80 and go to a "show" or talk-show a thousand miles away, sleep overnight in a fancy hotel, and come back late next day with still clean finger nails. And bringing back copies of newspapers with himself on the front cover. Some colleagues had good reason to become envious.

Yeager was a test pilot, probably not much better or worse than most. The Air Force made him a national hero because they needed one. They did that in what nowadays may seem an old-fashioned way, but then we must realize that TV had not really been invented yet.
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