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Catalog Data

Love, Robert J.  Search this
Northrop Aircraft, Inc.  Search this
3 Cubic Feet ((5 boxes))
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Motion pictures (visual works)
Technical manuals -- 20th century
bulk 1947-1989
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 3 cubic feet of materials relating to Robert Love's career in aviation: both his military career, especially relating to his exploits in the Korean War; and his civilian career, most notably his time as a test pilot with Northrop and his involvement with the Reno Air Races. This collection consists of the following types of archival material: photographs, color slides, 16 mm motion pictures films, U-matic videos, technical manuals, certificates, military records, correspondence, licenses, individual flight records, Northrop publications, and interviews of Love on audio tape cassettes.
Biographical / Historical:
Major Robert J. "Bob" Love (1917-1986) had an impressive military and civilian aviation career. Born in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, his family moved to New York when he was young. Love learned to fly in 1940 and before the United States entered World War II, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. After the United States joined the war, Love joined the United States Army Air Corps and flew a variety of aircraft, including Lockheed P-38s and North American P-51 Mustangs, but was kept in a training command stateside. Love represented the USAF in the 1947 and 1949 Cleveland Air Races. In the late 1940s, Love left the Air Corps to become a Commanding Officer in the Air National Guard. His unit was activated for the Korean War, and he was eventually transferred to the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing, where he flew North American F-86 Sabre jets. He flew over 50 combat missions between January - March 1952 and became an ace by shooting down six MiG MiG-15 Fagots. After the Korean War, Love left the military to become a test pilot for Northrop Aircraft where he tested the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, Northrop F-20 (F-5G) Tigershark, and Northrop T-38 Talon. After his stint at Northrop, he spent time in Central America as a mercenary fighter pilot in the wars between El Salvador and Nicaragua, and later tried to establish a rubber tree plantation in Guatemala. He returned to the United States and had a career flying as an executive pilot for a number of firms, including for Golden Industries. In 1964, Love raced a Mustang in the inaugural Reno Air Races; he crossed the finish line first, but lost the championship on points based on previous heats. He continued to be active in the Reno Races and for many years was the official Reno Race Check Pilot, approving new race pilots and recently modified World War II fighter-racers. Love was also active in the western United States air show circuit where he had a featured aerobatic act flying his Mustang P-51D.
Ron Burda, Gift, 2013
No restrictions on access.
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests
Aeronautics  Search this
Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Aerial operations  Search this
Korean War, 1950-1953  Search this
Airplane racing  Search this
Test pilots  Search this
Motion pictures (visual works)
Technical manuals -- 20th century
Robert Love Collection, Accession 2013-0057, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives