The Aviation Foundation of America unveiled a life-size statue of beloved aviation legend R.A. “Bob” Hoover at a reception at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on Saturday, April 2. (Photo of Hoover with small version of statue, courtesy of Aviation Foundation of America)
The effort to create a life-size statue of Bob Hoover began during discussions at EAA AirVenture 2014 in Oshkosh, as a way for generations of pilots to recognize and honor their hero, the man who General James “Jimmy” Doolittle named “The greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived.”
Greg Herrick, president of the Aviation Foundation of America (AFA), the non-profit organization responsible for the statue and its fundraising, said so many people love and admire Bob Hoover and the moment seemed right for all of us to join together and celebrate this great occasion.
The Bob Hoover statue is a life-size bronze statue of Hoover waving his iconic straw hat as he used to do following so many air show performances.
The sculpture is the work of Benjamin Victor, an American sculptor and Artist-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at Boise State University.
The celebration was held at the Udvar-Hazy Center because Hoover’s North American Rockwell Shrike Commander 500S is on display there, along with other artifacts belonging to the legendary pilot.
“I can think of no better way to honor his outstanding contributions to general aviation than to have Bob’s statue on display in a museum or similar institution,” said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “Like millions of other pilots and general aviation enthusiasts, I’ve looked up to Bob Hoover since I was a kid for both his thrilling acrobatics in the air and his true gentleman spirit.”
In addition to the statue, a purpose of the project is to establish a national award recognizing an aviator who espouses the skills and value shown by Hoover throughout his career.