A Hero in the USA Passes Away
Brigadier General Charles ``Chuck'' Yeager, the World War fighter pilot ace and quintessential test pilot from the USA who is believed by some to be the first to have flown a plane faster than sound in 1947, passed away Monday at the age of 97 — as per a tweet posted by his wife on his Twitter account.
Born February 23, 1923, in a small town in the hills of West Virginia, the award-decorated pilot flew planes for over 60 years.
Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Corps after graduating from high school in 1941 and went on to fly numerous fighter planes in both world wars to later kick off his career as a test pilot at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Corps after graduating from high school in 1941 and later regretted that his lack of a college education prevented him from becoming an astronaut.
Others that came after him were prevented from fulfiling their reams not for lack the appropriate education or training — but for the colour of their skin.
Yeager nevertheless, eventually went on to command Air Force fighter squadrons and wings, and the Aerospace Research Pilot School for military astronauts later in his career.
The First To Do It?
On October 14, 1947, the then a 24-year-old captain Yeager, pushed an orange, bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane past 1062 km to break the sound barrier — a daunting aviation milestone at the time.
Apparently, Yeager's feat was kept top secret for about a year with the Western world believing the British to have broken the sound barrier first.
Sixty-five years later to the minute, on October 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 9,144 meters above California's Mojave Desert.
In ``'Yeager: An Autobiography'' — originally published in 1985, the ace pilot said, "``Living to a ripe old age is not an end in itself. The trick is to enjoy the years remaining."