Pilot Chuck Yeager passed away at the age of 97, had the ‘right things’, then some died: NPR

Chuck Yeager, standing next to “Glamorous Glennis”, the Bell X-1 test plane that broke the sound barrier for the first time.

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Chuck Yeager, standing next to “Glamorous Glennis”, the Bell X-1 test plane that broke the sound barrier for the first time.

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One of the most famous pilots in the world has died: Chuck Yeager – known to be the first to break the sound barrier – has died at the age of 97.

Message Spread To his Twitter account he says, “Father @ VictoriaYeage11 It is with deep sadness, that I must tell you that my love in my life for General Chuck Yeager passed before 9 PM ET. An incredible life people have lived, America’s greatest pilot, and a legacy of strength, adventure and patriotism we will forever remember. “

Yeager started from humble beginnings in Myra, W.Va. , And it wasn’t until decades after he broke the sound barrier – all because of a popular 1983 book and movie called The right types.

He accomplished the feat on a Bell X-1, a high-flying orange-launched, rocket-propelled land plane dubbed “Glamorous Glennis” after his first wife, who died in 1990. It was a precarious mission – others killed pilots in other planes. . The X-1 was shocked like a stunts horse when it approached the speed of sound – Mach 1 – about 700 mph at altitude.

But Yeager was more than just a pilot: on several test flights before breaking the sound barrier, he studied his mechanism, analyzing the way it handled its progress faster and faster. It’s even pressure to change one of the aircraft’s control surfaces so that it can safely exceed Mach 1.

It also rumored in The right typesYeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. But there were no news releases that day, nor newspaper headlines. The feat in aviation was kept a secret for months. In 2011, Yeager told NPR that the matter wasn’t that much important to him. “You’re in the right place at the right time. The duty comes in. It’s not the matter, you know, don’t do it for – to get your damn picture on the first page of the newspaper. You do it because it’s a duty. It’s your job.”

Yeager never looked for the spotlight, and was always a little rude. After his famous flight in the X-1, he continued to test newer, faster and more dangerous aircraft. The X-1A came six years later and flew at twice the speed of sound. On December 12, 1953, Chuck Yeager set two additional records for height and speed in the X-1A: 74,700 feet and Mach 2.44.

What happened moments later cemented his legacy as a test pilot. The X-1A began spinning furiously and billowing to the ground, dropping 50,000 feet in about a minute. His flying helmet even broke a parachute, and a scrawled archive of the day keeps Yeager’s voice wrestling again for control of the plane: “Oh! Huh! It plummeted to 25,000,” he said softly – if he was a little breathless. “Ali Tehachapi. I don’t know if I can go back to base or not.”

Yeager will return to base. And in a 1985 NPR interview, he said it’s not really a big deal: “Well, sure, because I’ve been flying airplanes all my life and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve got the X-1A back from inverted to normal rotation, I get out of it, come back and go down. That’s what You learned to do. “

But it is more than that. Yeager was a rare pilot, someone who understood aircraft in ways other pilots do not. He ended up piloting more than 360 different types of aircraft, and he retired from the Air Force with the rank of brigadier general. Bob van der Linden of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington says Yeager has stood out. “He can provide very detailed reports that the engineers have found very useful. Not only does the plane fly, he explains how the plane flies and he understands that. And he understood that, just because he understood the machines so well. He was such a great pilot.”

Yeager grew up in the mountains of West Virginia and is an average student who has never attended university. After high school, he joined the Army Air Force as he had no educational credentials for flight training. But once the United States entered World War II a few months later, he got his chance.

Van der Linden says Yeager became a fighter, shooting down five enemy planes on one mission and four more on a different day. Then he faced another challenge during a fierce battle over France. “He shot himself and ran,” says Van der Linden. “Very few people do, and he just couldn’t escape. He went back to England and usually they’d ship people back home after that. He convinced the authorities to let him fly again and he did so very extraordinarily.” In addition to his flying skills, Yeager also had a “better than perfection” vision: 10-20. He was reportedly seeing enemy fighters from a distance of 50 miles and ending up fighting in four wars.

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Today, the Yeager aircraft first broke through the sound barrier of the X-1, which is suspended inside the Air and Space Museum. Museum visitor Norm Healy was visiting from Canada and reading about Yeager’s achievements. “I loved airplanes as a child. Chuck Yeager was always a bit of a cowboy in the world of airplanes. At least that was my point of view when I was young. And as I got older and now have children, family and wife, I appreciate it a lot more now,” His courage. “

Yeager did not consider himself to be brave or a hero. He said he was just doing his job. More than skillful job. “Throughout my career, I value very much luck in surviving because of the kind of work we have been doing.”

Chuck Yeager spent the last years of his life doing what he really liked: flying airplanes, talking to flight groups, and fishing for golden trout in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

“The pioneering and innovative spirit of General Yeager strengthened America’s capabilities in the sky and defined our nation’s dreams of flying in the age of aircraft and the space age,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said in a statement late on Monday. “Chuck’s bravery and accomplishments are testament to the enduring strength that made him a true Native American, and NASA’s aviation work owes much to his remarkable contributions to space science.”

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