Bob Hoover North American P-51D Mustang
First Albuquerque Visit: 1968
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is a long-range, single-seat fighter used extensively during World War II and the Korean War. The Mustang prototype was unveiled on 9 September 1940, 102 days after the contract was signed, and the first Mustang flew in October.
Many P-51s were sold as surplus after WWII to former wartime fliers or pilots for personal use while other Mustangs were modified to be used for air racing.
Robert Anderson Hoover (January 24, 1922 – October 25, 2016) was a legendary American fighter pilot, test pilot, flight instructor, and record-setting air show aviator. In the early 1960s, Hoover began flying a North American P-51 Mustang at air shows around the country. Hoover’s first Mustang (registration N2251D) was purchased by North American Aviation from Dave Lindsay’s Cavalier Aircraft Corp. in 1962. His second Mustang (N51RH), later named “Ole Yeller”, was purchased by North American Rockwell from Cavalier in 1971. It was used to replace the earlier aircraft which had been destroyed in a ground accident.
Bob Hoover flew his yellow P-51D Mustang in an airshow at Kirtland Air Force Base in 1968. He continued flying airshows with the Mustang but also flew his Aero Commander at Albuquerque and Santa Fe airshows before retiring. His twin engine Aero Commander routine was one of the most jaw-dropping shows for a twin aircraft to perform.
Hoover flew the Mustang and then later an Aero Commander at hundreds of air shows around the world until his retirement in the 1990s. In 1997, Hoover sold “Ole Yeller” to his good friend John Bagley of Rexburg, Idaho. “Ole Yeller” is still seen flying and is based at the Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg.
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