W. PATRICK GORDON M.Sc.
Aviator • Mentor • Executive • Writer
My apologies to the late Bob Hoover but this was not an attempt to emulate him. I bought this hat on a flight to Palm Beach, Florida. The Gulfstream IIB was so crowded on the way back to Saudi Arabia that I wore the hat in flight in order to keep it from being crushed.
Perhaps one could consider it as an unofficial salute to Bob Hoover who I greatly admired. He was a World War II fighter ace, a war hero who stole an airplane to escape a prison camp, and went on for years after the war to thrill airshow crowds everywhere. His trademarks were a twin-engine Aero Commander and a Panama hat. Perhaps his most famous in flight maneuver was to pour a pitcher of water into a glass with one hand while executing a slow role in the twin engine airplane with the other hand. He normally ended his airshow with a double engine, dead stick landing that concluded with the quiet airplane rolling up to stop exactly in front of the crowd.
His dead-stick landings influenced so many of us that this maneuver successfully concluded my type ride in a Gulfstream II. (The bad news was that both engines were pulled to “flight-idle” overhead the airport while I wore the instrument flying, training hood. The good news is that the hood was removed for the remainder of the flight.)
Captain W. Patrick Gordon