Chuck Yeager dies at 97

Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 used to break the sound barrier
Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 used to break the sound barrier

The first pilot to break the sound barrier, Charles Elwood (Chuck) Yeager died on Monday 7th December aged 97.

Born in 1923 in Myra, West Virginia, Yeager went on to a successful career in the United States Air Force (USAF) where he reached the rank of Brigadier General.

Following the Second World War, Yeager became a test pilot and flew many types of experimental aircraft.

On 14th October 1947, Yeager flew his Bell X-1 at a speed of Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000ft becoming the first human to officially break the sound barrier.

USAF-Col. Charles S. Yeager, Commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, Calif., poses with a model of the North American X-15 high speed, high-altitude research aircraft.  he holds a photograph of the Bell X-1 aircraft in which he became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound on Oct. 14, 1947.
USAF-Col. Charles S. Yeager, Commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, Calif., poses with a model of the North American X-15 high speed, high-altitude research aircraft. he holds a photograph of the Bell X-1 aircraft in which he became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound on Oct. 14, 1947.

His death was announced on his official twitter account in a tweet from his daughter Victoria who said “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.”.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was one of the first to offer his respects and in a statement said Yeager’s death was “a tremendous loss to our nation.” and praised his “pioneering and innovative spirit”.

Gen. Charles Elwood (Chuck) Yeager 13th February 1932 – 7th December 2020.

About Nick Harding 1417 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.