Chuck Yeager, 1st to break sound barrier, dies at 97

Houston Chronicle

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, the World War II fighter pilot ace and quintessential test pilot who showed he had the “right stuff” when in 1947 he became the first person to fly faster than sound, has died. He was 97.

Yeager died Monday, his wife, Victoria Yeager, said on his Twitter account.

“It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET. An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.”

Yeager’s death is “a tremendous loss to our nation,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager, then a 24-year-old captain, pushed an orange, bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane past 660 mph (1,062 kph) to break the sound barrier, at the time a daunting aviation milestone.

“Sure, I was apprehensive,” he said in 1968. “When you’re fooling around with something you don’t know much about, there has to be apprehension. But you don’t let that affect your job.”

The modest Yeager said in 1947 he could have gone even faster if the plane had carried more fuel. He said the ride “was nice, just like riding fast in a car.”

Yeager nicknamed the rocket plane, and all his other aircraft, “Glamorous Glennis” for his first wife, who died in 1990.

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4 Responses to Chuck Yeager, 1st to break sound barrier, dies at 97

  1. stella says:

    I remember how revered he was (along with his fellow pilots) in the 1950’s. We visited my sister in southern California, and would occasionally hear an airplane break the sound barrier. She was working for one of the big aviation companies at the time. I think I was about 6, so that would have been in 1953.

    Later, my nephew (4 years younger than I) collected everything he could about those intrepid pilots, and the X-15 plane (remember that?)

    The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. The X-15’s official world record for the highest speed ever recorded by a crewed, powered aircraft, set in October 1967 when William J. Knight flew at Mach 6.70 at 102,100 feet, a speed of 4,520 miles per hour, remains unbroken.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. auscitizenmom says:

    I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember hearing about him.


  3. Linda K. says:

    Handsome devil!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tblakney says:

    One of my favorite heroes!! I got to meet him at a airplane paint shop!! He did not disappoint in the fact that he was a gentleman!! Love the General!! It was a pitiful shame that he was not chosen as one of the original Gemini Astronauts!! General Yeager was overlooked based on spite !! RIP General!! A Great American!!


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