The Liberty Gazette
February 11, 2014Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s talk about something lovely!
In the world of aerobatics we have loops and rolls, tail slides and hammerheads, spins and knife edge, lomcevaks (lomcovak: a Czech word used to describe the rotating motions of one who has had one too many of the alcoholic drink slivovitz) and other G-force producing action fun. Some maneuvers have variations on a theme. Rolls, for example. The barrel roll: where the airplane’s path continues in one direction as it is rolled, looking much like it’s flying with its wheels running around the inside wall of a cylinder, or barrel, it’s path like a horizontal corkscrew.
Mike: Now that you know that, would you believe us if we told you a story about a pilot who performed a barrel roll while pouring iced tea from a pitcher into a glass, even while upside-down, and never spilled a drop? It’s true. You can see it and other of Bob Hoover’s infamous stunts on YouTube.
In addition to his popular iced-tea-pouring act, Bob is well known for his amazing demonstration of energy management, flying and landing an airplane after killing the engines. I first saw his airshow routine at the Mojave Air Races in 1976 as he thrilled the crowd with loops and rolls after shutting down the engines, then landing and rolling to a stop in front of the crowd stopping in exactly the same place he started.
A decorated airman with 59 combat missions, Bob escaped from a German POW camp, stole a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and flew it to the Netherlands in World War II. He flew the chase plane when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947 (he was Yeager’s pick for his backup pilot but I personally think of Hoover as head and shoulders above Yeager).
The cream of the aerospace crop is coming together to pay tribute to living legend R.A. "Bob" Hoover on February 21 at a dinner at Paramount Studios. Tickets are $950, which goes to scholarships. But that’s not all. Apollo astronauts Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, "Miracle on the Hudson" captain Chesley Sullenberger, airshow star Sean D. Tucker, actor and pilot Harrison Ford, Tom Poberezny, son of Experimental Aircraft Association founder, the late Paul Poberezny, and others will host the premiere of a new documentary about Bob Hoover’s life. Clips from other films about Hoover are part of it because, as Tom Poberezny says, it takes more than one movie to tell about Bob. They will also unveil the Bob Hoover Hall of Honor, to be housed at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus, to honor Hoover and a select few others who stand apart with their accomplishments, passion, and commitment to aviation.
Linda: A couple of years ago after Yasmina Platt and I finished the AirVenture Cup race (Mitchell, South Dakota to Waupaca, Wisconsin) we spent the week in Oshkosh at the largest fly-in in the world. One day that week there happened to be terrible weather forming, heading our direction. There in Warbird Alley, amongst WWII bombers and fighters, I saw the black sky lurching toward us. I ran for cover in a nearby building and quickly discovered that I was sharing shelter with none other than The Legend himself – Mr. Hoover. We chatted and I took a picture, a moment that will long live in my treasure chest of memories.