preview

Chuck Yeager

Good Essays
Chuck Yeager is unquestionably the most famous test pilot of all time. He won a permanent place in the history of aviation as the first pilot ever to fly faster than the speed of sound, but that is only one of the remarkable feats this pilot performed in service to his country.

Charles Elwood Yeager was born in 1923 in Myra, West Virginia and grew up in the nearby village of Hamlin. Immediately upon graduation from High School he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps to serve in World War II.

Shot down over enemy territory only one day after his first kill in 1943, Yeager evaded capture, and with the aid of the French resistance, made his way across the Pyrenees to neutral Spain. Although army policy prohibited his return to combat flight, Yeager personally appealed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower and was allowed to fly combat missions again.

He flew 64 combat missions in World War II. On one occasion he shot down a German jet from a prop plane. By war's end he had downed 13 enemy aircraft, five in a single day.

After the war, Yeager continued to serve the newly constituted United States Air Force as a flight instructor and test pilot. In 1947, he was assigned to test the rocket-powered X-1 fighter plane. At the time, no one knew if a fixed-wing aircraft could fly faster than sound, or if a human pilot could survive the experience. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, only days after cracking several ribs in a horseback riding accident.

In 19...
Get Access