|Bob Hoover on the Right. Courtesy of the National Museum of the United States Air Force|
|Fighter Pilot Bob Hoover in His Spitfire During WWII. Courtesy of The Bob Hoover Legacy Foundation|
Hoover located a Focke-Wulf 190 single-seat fighter with a lot of damage but a full tank of gas. They confronted a German mechanic with their pistol, but he didn't try to stop them. Hoover's companion chose to continue his journey by bicycle rather than risking his life in the damaged craft. Hoover didn't waste time using the runway. He taxied across a grassy field and lifted off. He didn't have a parachute or a seat cushion and could barely see out the canopy windscreen.
|A Restored Focke-Wulf 190. Courtesy of Wikimedia by Kogo - Own work, GFDL.|
Hoover didn't know where he was going, but he had a compass, so he headed west, hoping to stay aloft until he reached Allied territory. He was concerned that an American or British pilot would spot the German aircraft and finish him off, so he flew low, below the cloud cover. After Hoover spotted the windmills of Holland, he landed in a plowed field and was immediately surrounded by "an angry group of farmers armed with pitchforks."
Hoover tried to explain to the Dutchmen "why an American was flying a German warplane." Fortunately for him, British soldiers pulled up in their truck and translated. Hoover hitched a ride with them and ended the war safely. Incidentally, the other escapee on the bicycle survived the war also and he and Hoover met up many years later.
After the war, Bob Hoover became a civilian test pilot and later an air show display pilot, flying for nearly fifty years before he retired. He died in 2016 at the age of 94. Jimmy Doolittle dubbed Hoover "The greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived!"
|Bob Hoover in 2011|
Courtesy of Flikr via Wikipedia
Strange and Ocscure Stories of World War II by Don Aines. Skyhorse Publishing, 2020.
Cindy Stewart, a high school social studies teacher, church pianist, and inspirational historical romance author, was a 2020 finalist for the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award of Excellence, placed second in the 2019 North Texas Romance Writers Great Expectations contest, semi-finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest, and won ACFW’s First Impressions contest in the historical category. Cindy is passionate about revealing God’s handiwork in history. She resides in North Georgia with her college sweetheart and husband of thirty-nine years. Their married daughter, son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren live only an hour away. Cindy’s currently writing a fiction series set in WWII Europe.