Friends fete Hoover with Texas-sized 90th birthday party
Aviation icon and World War II hero R.A. “Bob” Hoover celebrated his belated ninetieth birthday March 26 to 28 in a Texas-sized party surrounded by friends from across the country. The celebration, coordinated by Bill Fanning of the Pilot Insurance Center, was the sort of party any military aviator would be proud of, regardless of what decade they may have first flown.
According to Fanning, a lifelong friend of Hoover’s, the gang of aviation personalities took over the Hangar Hotel at Fredericksburg, Texas; had an evening event at the Nimitz Ballroom in the National Museum of the Pacific War; and another night rented the entire town of Luckenbach, Texas, where a band kept the party going all night.
Among those attending were various FAA officials, including former administrator Randy Babbitt; leaders from among the FBO and fuels business; air racing aficionados; and astronauts and fellow aviators Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, the first and last men to step on the moon.
Hoover made a thunderous arrival via Cessna Citation, with his personal and famed yellow-and-green P-51 Mustang Ole Yeller in formation.
As part of the celebration, the FAA presented Hoover with the gift of an intersection named after him on the VOR Runway 11L approach to Torrance, Calif., Hoover’s home airport for many years. The BHoov intersection is 5.8 nautical miles from the LAX VOR on the 135-degree radial. To commemorate the occasion, Jeppesen created a special framed instrument approach chart for Hoover and also created a one-of-a-kind (and not-for-navigation) approach chart for the VOR DME 22L approach to Edwards Air Force Base, another frequent Hoover haunt when he was a test pilot. The procedure includes a list of Hoover’s achievements, with various points on the chart named after his famed aviation friends and colleagues, such as Chuck Yeager, Jacqueline Cochran, Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Barry Goldwater, Clay Lacy, Charles Lindbergh, Pancho Barnes, and others.
Lest anyone think Hoover may have lost his flying touch, fear not. As we reported on AOPA Online, he recently talked an airborne P-51 pilot through several emergency procedures that ultimately allowed the crippled Mustang to land successfully. AOPA Live also interviewed Hoover at the PIC booth at Aviation Summit 2010 in Long Beach, Calif.
April 4, 2012