YEAGER - 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, died Monday. He was 97.
On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager, then a 24-year-old captain, pushed an orange, bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane past 660 mph to break the sound barrier, at the time a daunting aviation milestone. Sixty-five years later to the minute, on Oct. 14, 2012, Yeager commemorated the feat, flying in the back seat of an F-15 Eagle as it broke the sound barrier at more than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) above California’s Mojave Desert.
On the anniversary in 2020, Yeager tweeted "Oct 14, 1947: B-2 dropped me in a stall. I ignited all 4 engines. I radioed: There's something wrong w/ this MACHmeter, it's gone off the scales. It only went to MACH 1: don't think they had much confidence in us :-) They heard the boom on the ground. We had broken the sound barrier."
His exploits were told in Tom Wolfe’s book “The Right Stuff,” and the 1983 film it inspired.