General Chuck Yeager, at the ripe old age of 89 years, boards an F-15 Eagle at Nellis AFB as part of an honor flight. The flight was conducted in recognition of the first manned supersonic flight 65 years prior, when Yeager broke the sound barrier in an experimental Bell X-1 aircraft on October 14, 1947. Filmed on October 14, 2012.
For those who don’t know, Chuck Yeager is the man who first broke the supersonic flight sound barrier on October of 1947 at California’s Muroc Desert Test Center (now known as Edwards AFB) with a speed of 660 mph at 35,000 feet, in the Bell XS-1 rocket-powered aircraft named “Glamorous Glennis” (after Yeager’s wife). With enough fuel for a 2 1/2 minute flight, technicians and engineers were unsure just what would occur at the sound barrier. Would the wings fall off? Could the human body take the stress or would the transition to supersonic speed kill the pilot? No one knew.
Yet there he is, at the age of 89 in the year 2012, strapped into the back seat of a McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle, a twin-engine fighter first introduced into USAF service in 1976, in order to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Yeager’s having broken the sound barrier.
I’m sure a number of AF officers were thinking: “oh please, don’t let General Yeager get killed on my watch.”
Still and all, an amazing feat.
Brigadier General Yeager, 93, lives with his second wife Victoria, 57, in Penn Valley, California, just off Highway 20 and west of Grass Valley. Beale AFB, former home of the SR-71 and current home of the TR-1, is nearby.