By: Richard E Nygaard
I saw Bob Hoover flying his Shrike Commander and his personal P-51 maintained in perfect condition for him on every occasion. I was anywhere he was performing. From the tmi I was a fledgling pilot in the early fifties until many years later. I considered him the very best of the best. I will not try to tell any stories about his exploits they are too numerous and interesting but I will relate one show that he starred in at Dulles air show way back in the 70s I believe. He went through his routines with the Commander and P-51 and as I recall just before a hellacious thunderstorm swept across Dulles airport and the parking lots where people were rushing to escape thworst and largest hailstorm I ever saw in the area up until that time. The ice crystals were not round they were chunks of ice sharp and some jagged and pointed. Many folks were screaming and trying to get to their cars but since the wind was blowing up the ice so hard, the safest thing to do was get behind the left side of a car below the hood line and hope for the best. The storm passed and as I recall, Bob Hoover was right back the next day doing his miracles with his planes. It was a notion after that, that two smart mouthed FAA officials raised a Spector that he was too old to be flying before crowds of adoring fans and this began the battle of his career just to keep doing what only he could do.
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