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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, a World War II fighter pilot who became an aviation legend for his skills in testing aircraft and demonstrating their capabilities in air shows, has died at age 94.

Bill Fanning, a close family friend and a fellow pilot, says Hoover died early Tuesday in Southern California.

When the National Air and Space Museum conferred its highest honor on Hoover in 2007, the museum noted that Jimmy Doolittle, leader of the famed 1942 bomber raid on Japan, once described Hoover as “the greatest stick-and-rudder man that ever lived.”

Hoover flew more than 300 types of aircraft in his career, including serving as backup pilot in the Bell X-1 program, flying the chase plane when Chuck Yeager became the first to break the sound barrier in 1947.