AidSpace Blog

Remembering Dale Allan Gardner

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Naval Aviator, Astronaut, Businessman
(1948-2014)

Dale Allan Gardner

Gardner’s official portrait dates to his entry into the astronaut corps six years before the STS-51A mission. He was one of the “Thirty-Five New Guys” selected in 1978, the first class of astronaut candidates recruited for the Space Shuttle program.

Dale Gardner was one of only six Space Shuttle astronauts to fly the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) propulsion backpack. On Discovery’s STS-51A mission in November 1984, he flew untethered to capture the errant Westar 6 communications satellite and steer it back into the orbiter for return to Earth. His crewmate Joe Allen retrieved another communications satellite, Indonesia’s Palapa B-2, the same way. Allen flew the MMU that is displayed at the Udvar-Hazy Center near Discovery; Gardner flew an identical one that remains at Johnson Space Center.

Both Allen and Gardner captured their assigned satellites using a “stinger” device (a training mockup is in the stored collection), and then used the MMU to stop each satellite’s slow rotation and hand it off to the Remote Manipulator System arm operated by Anna Fisher. That part of the job went as planned, but latching the nine feet long by seven feet wide, 4,400 kg (9,600-pound) cylindrical satellites into the payload bay proved to be much harder than anticipated due to a slight hardware misfit. The crew reverted to “Plan B” and literally manhandled the two satellites into place. Allen credited Gardner with quick thinking and directing Plan B.

Joe Allen and Dale Gardner

Joe Allen on the remote manipulator arm and Dale Gardner opposite in the MMU muscled the massive Westar into its cradle the payload bay. They reversed roles for the Palapa retrieval.

Gardner was the spacewalking astronaut holding a For Sale sign in a humorous photo taken at the end of this salvage task. This mission marked the first retrieval of satellites from space for return to their owners, avoiding a complete loss of insured property. The Westar was refurbished and later re-launched, proving the value of this new ability.

Gardner

Before coming inside from the Westar EVA, Gardner playfully held up a For Sale sign to signal that the two satellites had been salvaged. Joe Allen is reflected in Gardner’s helmet.

Before the retrieval effort, the STS-51A crew successfully deployed two other communications satellites. This freed room in the payload bay to bring Palapa and Westar home, and also gave the crew bragging rights for the first (and only) “Two Up, Two Down” satellite deployment and retrieval mission.

Gardner entered the astronaut corps as a mission specialist in 1978 after serving in the U.S. Navy as an aviator and project manager assigned to the F-14 Tomcat development. He was a member of the first operational F-14 Tomcat squadron and served two tours on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. He logged over 2,000 hours flying time in more than 20 different aircraft.

Gardner also flew on Challenger (STS-8 in 1983) along with the first African American astronaut on the first shuttle mission to launch and land at night. In both flights, he logged a total of 337 hours (14 days) in space, 12 hours in two spacewalks, and more than an hour in the MMU.

During the almost-three-year pause in shuttle missions after the 1986 Challenger tragedy, his next assigned flight was cancelled. Gardner returned to active duty in the Navy, serving in the U.S. Space Command and holding senior positions in Space Control. In 1990 he moved on to a career in the aerospace industry and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, from which he retired in 2013.

Valerie Neal is a curator in the Space History Department at the National Air and Space Museum.


Celebrating Jerrie Mock, the First Woman to Fly Around the World

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On April 3, 1964, Jerrie Mock stood next to her Cessna 180 at Dhahran Airport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The crowd of men before her looked puzzled and then one of them dashed forward to look into the cockpit. In her book Three-Eight Charlie, Mock recalled: “His white-kaffiyeh-covered head nodded vehemently, and he shouted to the throng that there was no man.  This brought a rousing ovation.”

Jerrie Mock

Jerrie Mock’s solo arrival at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia stunned the crowd. Arabian-American Oil Co. (Aramco)

What in the world was an American woman doing flying a plane alone to Saudi Arabia where no woman was allowed to drive a car? Well, actually Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock was flying her Cessna around the world and she was already two weeks into a flight that no woman had yet completed, not even the indomitable Amelia Earhart.  On her round-the-world attempt with her navigator Fred Noonan in 1937, Earhart disappeared without a trace into an afterlife of speculation and theory. Now, 27 years later, here was Jerrie Mock, a mother of three with 750 hours of flight time, a newly-minted instrument rating, and a determination to see the world.  She also had a 1953 Cessna 180, a rugged single-engine four-seat airplane officially named Spirit of Columbus, for her Ohio hometown, but which she affectionately called Three-Eight Charlie, per its registration number N1538C, or simply Charlie, the aviation alphabet code word for “C.” Today, Charlie is suspended at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center where it celebrates Jerrie Mock as the first woman to fly around the world (March 19-April 17, 1964).

Charlie

Mock’s Cessna 180, which affectionately called “Charlie” is suspended at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Dane Penland

While a far cry from the average pilot of the era, defined as a male weighing 180 pounds, the petite Mock was also not your average suburban wife — to be honest, she was bored, and so she earned her pilot license at age 32.  She and her husband Russell loved to fly around the Midwest and but she longed to visit countries she had always dreamed of as a child. Russ suggested a world flight and Jerrie enthusiastically said why not?  So Russ and co-owner Al Baumeister outfitted the high-wing Cessna with dual directional finders and short-range radios, a long range high-frequency radio with trailing wire, an autopilot and three extra fuel tanks to extend its range to an impressive 3,500 miles. The Columbus Dispatch newspaper signed on as a major benefactor, while Cessna, Javelin Aviation, and others assisted as well.  Mock prepared her routing, with help from an Air Force friend, making sure she would exceed the required official distance for a round-the-world flight of 36,788 kilometers (22,858.8 miles) and she gathered all required paperwork for the flight.  She would even forsake her slacks for a more diplomatic drip-dry skirt and sweater set (taking off her high-heels while flying but looking all the while as a woman off to bridge club instead of flying around the world).

The tone of the flight changed dramatically when the National Aviation Association informed her that another woman, Joan Merriman Smith, was also considering a world flight; Mock quickly submitted her final paperwork as the official pilot seeking the first female round the world record. When Mock learned Smith would depart in her twin-engine Piper Apache in mid-March, to follow Earhart’s equatorial route, she moved up her departure from April 1 to March 19, two days after Smith. With a kiss to her husband and children, the “flying housewife” departed Port Columbus Airport, Ohio, eastbound for Bermuda. After dueling with icing over the Atlantic and sandstorms along the African coast, she inadvertently landed at Inchas Air Force Base in Egypt to be met by armed soldiers.  Perhaps a male pilot would have been detained, but the bewildered soldiers kindly pointed out nearby Cairo International Airport a few miles away and, after dark, cleared her for take-off.  While there she crossed off one of her life goals, visiting the pyramids. Perhaps it was her optimistic, practical nature that carried her through, along with attention to detail (Earhart take note) and a measure of good luck; Smith was not so lucky, beset with mechanical problems.

Diplomatic and military officials and local aero clubs often greeted her but Mock could find her own way around a town too. She relished the dramatic cultural changes in food and dress, as women’s full dark hijabs in the Middle East bloomed into brightly-colored saris or pantaloons of India. She became keenly aware of the dramatic difference in flight rules and the near total absence of the American concept of general aviation; controlled airspace and airports meant red-tape, delays, and outlays of cash. She worried: “Do you think it could ever get like this at home?” As she flew over Vietnam on a 13-hour flight from Bangkok to Manila, she noted: “Somewhere not far away a war was being fought, but from the sky above, all looked peaceful.”

Jerrie Mock

Jerrie Mock poses for a publicity photo before her world flight departure on March 19, 1964. Sheldon Ross, Columbus Dispatch

With her four longest flights over the Pacific still ahead of her, the press only wanted to talk about the unfortunate Earhart. Undaunted because she had the proper equipment and training, Mock flew on without a hitch except for missing a luau in Hawaii — canceled by her overzealous husband who thought  she would need the sleep (shades of Earhart’s husband-manager George Putnam?). On April 14, she flew the final and longest ocean leg of 3877 km (2,409 miles) from Honolulu to Oakland, California, and she arrived home in Columbus on April 17.

President Lyndon Johnson presented her with the Federal Aviation Agency’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service on May 4, 1964; however she did not win the female Harmon Trophy for that year – it went instead to Joan Merriam Smith who completed her flight 25 days after Mock.  Perhaps Smith’s death in early 1965 had something to do with that. Mock later set several more distance and speed records.

Jerrie Mock and Lyndon Johnson

Geraldine L. “Jerrie” Mock and President Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House Rose Garden on May 4, 1964. Johnson is presenting Jerrie with Federal Aviation Agency’s “Decoration for Exceptional Service” for her solo flight around the world.

Why did it take so long for this world flight to be accomplished? After Earhart’s loss it appears that no woman had even made a serious attempt.  To be sure, World War II banned general aviation but though the annual All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race began in 1948, this great adventure remained.  Potential pilots such as Jerrie Cobb come to mind but the most accomplished female pilot of the day, Jacqueline Cochran, who also had the money, never considered the flight.  Cochran instead set her sights on becoming the first woman to fly the speed of sound and eventually set more records than any man or woman of the era.  Perhaps it was her friendship with Earhart that made Cochran shy away from this one — she had feared for Earhart’s safety and indeed was not surprised when Earhart disappeared.

Whatever the reasons, Jerrie Mock made the flight and earned her place in aviation history.  Today, she is as spunky as ever and she is still awaiting a movie on her record adventure — Hollywood please take note. Seven years ago she joined us for our Become a Pilot Family Day, held each June at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Independent as ever, the octogenarian refused to fly in a commercial airliner, instead making the trip from Florida as a passenger in the familiarity of two small general aviation airplanes.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Mock’s world flight, a display of selected paperwork, photographs, and her sunglasses is in the General Aviation exhibit station case at the Udvar-Hazy Center, not far from her beloved Charlie, both testaments to the character and accomplishments of Jerrie Mock.

paperwork

One example of Jerrie Mock’s paperwork is a landing permit for Saudi Arabia.

March 15, Women in Aviation and Space Day, Udvar-Hazy Center.
Wendy Hollinger, publisher of a new edition of Jerrie Mock’s Three-Eight Charlie, and Curator Dorothy Cochrane will speak at 12:30 pm.  Hollinger will also be signing books at the Museum shop.

Dorothy Cochrane is a curator in the Aeronautics Department of the National Air and Space Museum.


Horten H IX V3 “Bat-Wing Ship,” March 2014 Update

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Conservator Lauren Horelick, Post-Graduate Conservation Fellows Anna Weiss and Peter McElhinney, and retired treatment artisan Karl Heinzel continue to prepare the Horten jet wing to move to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. We have pushed back the Horten move to early spring in order to concentrate on finishing the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver by March 15.

Conservation is studying four different aspects of the materials used to build the jet: wood, adhesives, metals, and coatings. The conservators have found three types of wood. The outer skin is made of plywood of varying shapes and thicknesses and reinforced in some areas with laminated lumber supports. These supports also serve to affix the plywood skin to the metal structural framework. Artisans during World War II used lumber in the construction of the canopy rear section, and elsewhere such as the aft end of the center section and in the air brake assembly. The small blocks of wood that serve as ‘spacers’ between the plywood skin and the metal airframe represent a third wood type that the conservators characterize as birch based on preliminary analysis. These blocks appear to be layers of thinner veneers stacked and glued under pressure to the required thickness. In this blog update, we will look more closely at the plywood and examine the lumber supports, spacer blocks, metals, and coatings in future updates.

Plywood

Plywood from the Horten

Here is a small sample cross section of plywood removed from beneath a metal engine cover near the front of the aircraft. The wood is in good condition and is representative of much of the wood used throughout the plywood skin. The cross section indicates the plywood in this area is made from sheets of 5-ply wood that artisans during World War II stacked and glued under pressure to create a wooden panel of the required thickness. Note the grey colored adhesive layer between each 5-ply layer. Conservators examined the sample and photographed it using a Hirox 3-D Digital Microscope. The veneer width and the number of plys used to make the individual plywood layers is consistent with the historical records, see Lacey, P.M.C., Rutherford, H.C., Pollard, G.J.T., Austin, J.B. 1945. Investigation of Targets connected with the German Plywood, Improved Wood, Shuttle Block, and Joinery Industries, British intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee Final Report No. 348. Image by Pete McElhinney.

Identifying the wood species used to produce the plywood proved more complex than originally anticipated. Conservators identify wood by using the microscope to compare features visible in the three different cuts (or planes) from a sample piece of wood- the cross-sectional plane, the radial plane, and tangential plane:

 

Diagram

Diagram showing orientation of planes examined for wood identification. Illustration by Pete McElhinney.

The unknown sample is visually compared to known reference samples. Depending on the particular wood species, key diagnostic features, and visual patterns of diagnostic value are visible in each of the three planes described above.

With thin veneers as seen above in the first photo, the exposed surface area of the cross-sectional and radial planes available for analysis is quite small. Furthermore, the penetration of glue into the wood layer, and the pressure used to make the plywood can distort some of the microscopic features useful for species identification.

Identifying the plywood sample above started with the premise that the veneers most likely came from Common Birch (Betula pendula) or European Beech (Fagus sylvatica). Post-Graduate Fellow Pete McElhinney characterized the wood by processing the sample shown above to produce thin tangential sections of the individual veneers. He sliced thin sections through the 0.2 mm thin veneer ends and mounted the sections on a microscope slide.

We can see one of the main differences between the two species of Birch and Beech in the tangential plane. Ray cells are involved in moving materials within the woody stem, and variations in the number of cells comprising the width of the ray can aid species diagnosis. In Common Birch, the ray structures do not exceed four cells in width whereas in European Beech, the ray structure can measure up to twenty cells wide, see Schoch,W.,Heller,I.,Schweingruber, Wood anatomy of central European Species.

photomicrograph of plywood

Reflected light (light source in front of the specimen) photomicrograph of plywood sample. Arrows point to the ray cells in the dark areas of the sample. National Air and Space Museum Conservation photo.

 

photomicrograph of plywood

Transmitted light (light source behind the specimen) photomicrograph of plywood. The wide ray structure particularly clear on the left side of the image far exceeds the four-cell width of Common Birch, and is more consistent with European Beech. National Air and Space Museum Conservation photo.


European Beech

European Beech, note the wide ray structure. Photo from Schoch, W., Heller, I., Schweingruber, F.H., Kienast,F., 2004: Wood anatomy of central European Species. Online version: www.woodanatomy.ch.

 

Common Birch

Common Birch. The rays in this tangential section are much narrower than rays in the European Beech sample. Photo from Schoch, W., Heller, I., Schweingruber, F.H., Kienast, F., 2004: Wood anatomy of central European Species. Online version: www.woodanatomy.ch.

The gallery above illustrates the different ray widths of Common Birch and European Beech that implicate Beech (in combination with historical research) as the more likely wood used to produce the Horten IX V3 plywood panels.

Post-Graduate Conservation Fellows Anna Weiss and Peter McElhinney work in the Collections Department; Russ Lee is a curator in the Aeronautics Department of the National Air and Space Museum.


Twenty Years of GPS and Instrument Flight

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On February 16, 1994, a significant milestone in American aviation occurred when the Federal Aviation Administration certified the first GPS unit for use in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) operations. Twenty years later, GPS has become the dominant form of en route navigation as well as the primary technology for guiding aircraft in low-visibility approaches to landing. The unit first certified twenty years ago was the Garmin GPS 155. Today, the prototype unit used in the certification trials is a featured artifact of the Time and Navigation exhibition.

Garmin GPS 155

The Garmin GPS 155 was the first unit certified for use in non-precision instrument approaches (FAA TSO-C129, Class A1 standard) NASM 2012-02110.

Most of us are familiar with how satellite navigation has made it easier to find our way in daily life, so it should be no surprise that pilots have benefitted more than most from the satellite navigation revolution. What may be surprising to many is the way it is changing aviation. Even though it is often in plain sight, the traditional electronic infrastructure of aviation is invisible to most people, who have no awareness of what they are seeing. However, VOR stations, glideslope shacks, localizer antennas, and radar arrays are obvious to those who know where to look. These systems are expensive to construct and difficult to maintain. They are also considerably less accurate than GPS and are range limited. While GPS has its own complex infrastructure, local operations require little in the way of additional equipment to enable very precise approach systems. By shifting from these 1950s era systems to GPS, many more airports are now open to low-visibility landings while airports with existing “blind landing” approaches now have more options that allow for better low-visibility guidance.

VOR

The VOR debuted shortly after World War II as America’s standard air navigation system. These ground-based, line-of sight beacons are now giving way to GPS-based systems.

By last fall, the GPS analog to the venerable ILS (Instrument Landing System), known as LPV (Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance), outnumbered the traditional precision approach system by a factor of two-to-one. Three thousand, three hundred forty one of these low-weather approaches were available at 1,650 airports. This means that towns in remote Alaska that depend on air travel for basic necessities are no longer separated from civilization by extended periods of poor weather. Business aircraft can reach many smaller airfields that were previously off limits in low-visibility conditions. Aviators also have access to a higher level of GPS performance than the typical dashboard GPS installation made possible through WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System).

WAAS System

The WAAS system depends on the enhancement of GPS signals through a supplementary system of satellites and ground stations.

Most importantly, GPS is allowing greatly improved safety and efficiency in all aspects of air travel. Pilots are not simply receiving better navigational guidance. Under the old system of ground-based radio beacons and radar surveillance, navigation and air traffic control services varied widely by region. Air traffic was routed over networks of “airways” that meandered from one beacon or electronic “fix” to another. Air traffic control depended on radar to see the aircraft, but radar coverage has had many gaps and limitations. GPS is now allowing the untangling of this network of airway bottlenecks and filling in the gaps of radar coverage with a consistently accurate and precise capability.

Airway Map

VOR-based airways have been reliable, but they create inefficiencies and bottlenecks that GPS-based systems are better positioned to resolve. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Not only do pilots and controllers now have better positioning, GPS also makes it much easier to share this data. The mechanism for sharing is something known as ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast). This bewildering acronym of a system is a transponder that can relay, and, in many cases, receive positioning and other critical flight data. With the old infrastructure (known as the “Common System”), data about aircraft movements was largely restricted to the individual controllers in communication with an aircraft. Pilots had to rely on the controllers for information about other air traffic. This inability to share information broadly could, and did, compromise safety in certain situations. Today, pilots, controllers, and virtually anyone else who wants to know, are far better informed. If you want to see how this plays out in real time, a number of third party vendors provide apps and other interfaces to see ADS-B data around the world. A decade ago it was science fiction to imagine that anyone could see exactly what a specific airliner was doing almost at that instant on the other side of the world (see it for yourself here).

ADS-B

ADS-B is the networking of air traffic data in entirely new ways.

The Federal Aviation Administration calls the transition from ground-based to satellite-based navigation and control services “NextGen.” Other benefits arising from the revolution launched by the Garmin GPS 155 include lower environmental impacts, improved traffic flow at busy airports,  and accommodation of weather diversions in dense air traffic environments. Also, the current demand for integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace systems is only technically possible with the flexibility of a system like NextGen. One area where the advantages of GPS might not be obvious is the use of something called RNP – Required Navigation Performance. This opaque acronym describes the ability to fly flight paths that are far more precise, which in turn allows much more efficient approach procedures into busy airports, reducing time in the air and air traffic delays. In simple terms, instrument approach paths previously required turns and other maneuvers guided by the intersection of radio beams. This created angles which, because airplanes cannot turn on a dime, required either an overshoot or undershoot. Air traffic controllers had to allow for both scenarios and accommodated them by blocking out large sections of airspace. GPS combined with modern flight management systems now allows aircraft to precise curved paths and eliminates much of the previous ambiguity. If this alphabet soup of acronyms is confusing, at least know that GPS is changing the way we fly – to make it more accessible, more affordable, more efficient, and safer.

Environmental Impacts:

Improved Traffic Flow:

Weather Diversions:

Roger Connor is a museum specialist in the Aeronautics Department at the National Air and Space Museum.


Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, The Greatest Stick and Rudder Man, is Honored in Hollywood

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On the evening of Friday, February 21, friends of legendary pilot Bob Hoover will gather with him at Paramount Studios Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate his “Lifetime of Achievement.”  We doubt this Red Carpet event will make Access Hollywood but of course that is not the point.  Instead, these friends will gather to honor an exceptional man with extraordinary flying skills and, hopefully, to hear Bob tell a few more of his incredible stories.

Bob Hoover

Bob Hoover always travels in style with a straw hat – this one is now displayed in a nearby case with his air show flight suit.

It was an earlier legendary pilot, General James “Jimmy” Doolittle, leader of the Doolittle Raid into China in World War II and of 1930s air racing fame, who anointed Bob Hoover as the greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived. It means he really knew how to handle an airplane and an acknowledgment such as this only happens when a real gift is discovered, honed, and played out over a lifetime. You can read about Bob’s career in his own book, Forever Flying, and in countless other chapters, essays and online links, including the National Air and Space Museum, and numerous Halls of Fame and military and honorary medal citations: self-taught aerobatic pilot who overcame air sickness; World War II fighter pilot and POW; military and civilian test pilot charged with flying propeller and first line jet aircraft beyond their limits; aerobatic, air racing, and air show pilot. These are the nuts and bolts of Bob’s career. The Distinguished Flying Cross is perhaps his highest military honor but that was only the start.  His career is the stuff of Hollywood legend and indeed there are at least two documentaries ready to spread the word.

Bob Hoover

As an 18-year-old Tennessee Air National Guardsman, Hoover trained as a tail gunner in Douglas O-38 observation craft.

Admittedly, many other skilled pilots have had remarkable careers so why is Bob Hoover so respected by his peers and beloved by the aviation community?  It is the combination of his extraordinary flying skills, a diverse and enduring aviation career, and his interest in and commitment to people of the aviation community.  Beyond the instructional and flight test efforts, beyond his practical knowledge of the art of flying and his intuitive aeronautical problem solving, is his genuine enthusiasm for his craft, his life, and people.

Bob loves to share his experiences with readers and live audiences as much as they love hearing him.  You are with him as he repeatedly attempts escape from a German prison camp, finally commandeers a Luftwaffe FW-190, and then realizes he must be the “dumbest Army Air Force pilot ever to be flying an enemy plane into Allied airspace.”  You are with him at the infamous test pilot watering hole, the Happy Bottom Riding Club near Muroc (later Edwards)Air Force Base, California. You are with him as he loses the chance of a lifetime — to become the first to fly the speed of sound. You are with him for “forty minutes of stark terror” in the cockpit of an out-of-control F-86 that he miraculously brings safely to ground. You are with him when his airmanship outshines the Soviets in Moscow and only the divine intervention of cosmonaut hero Yuri Gagarin saves him from Siberia. And you are with him when he gently convinces the notoriously crowd-adverse Charles Lindbergh to relax and enjoy himself with the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

The respect that oozes from the public is palpable because he is telling stories about incredible success and tragedy, and he is telling stories on himself and his acquaintances.  He’s advising us all to do whatever it takes to accomplish our goals, including swapping paperwork or going around authority, but to do so in a purposeful manner.  He is not a saint.  He will give you an honest account of a person or situation; he does not have an agenda. Fighter pilots are known to be an arrogant bunch, but you won’t find that with Bob.  What you will find are determination, courage, self-inflicted wounds, compassion, and humor. Most of all, day after day, Bob Hoover is a true gentleman.

Shrike Commander

Flown by R.A. “Bob” Hoover for 20 years, N500RA is the most recognized Shrike Commander in the world. Hoover used his extensive test pilot and fighter pilot skills to become a legendary airshow pilot and brought a simple business aircraft to international attention.

The Museum is proud to display Bob’s last airshow aircraft, a stock North American Rockwell Shrike Commander 500S, in which he flew the final iteration of his trademark energy management routine, accomplished with two-, one-, and no-engine maneuvers.  You can look it up on You Tube where you will also find footage of him perfectly rolling his plane around its axis while pouring a glass of ice tea and not spilling a drop. Bob’s final flare of air-showmanship occurred in the fall of 2003 when he and his ferry pilot delivered the Shrike to the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Center in Virginia.  After his approved fly-by of the Hazy Center’s Donald Engen Tower, he taxied the aircraft up and, much to everyone’s surprise, directly into the north entrance of the Center.  Then Hoover, always the gentleman, calmly walked away after a distinguished career of test flights, crashes, performances, and perfect landings to airshow center. Bob, we join all your friends in saluting you!

Shrike Commander

After landing at Dulles Airport, Bob Hoover makes the final taxi in his Shrike Commander to the Udvar-Hazy Center, October 2003.

Dorothy Cochrane is a curator in the Aeronautics Department of the National Air and Space Museum.