RIP Chuck Yeager Aged 97.


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I have just read of the death of the legendary Chuck Yeager, aged 97.

As a pioneer of aviation, - in 1947, as a test pilot, serving at the time as captain in the USAF, he broke the "sound barrier", the first person to fly faster than sound, which was also the first time a sonic boom was ever heard - he easily ranks with the Wright Brothers, Alcock & Brown, and Charles Lindberg, among others.

Yeager's achievements were immortalised in the book The Right Stuff, (written by Tom Wolfe) which, in turn, gave rise to the successful (and excellent - Sam Shepard played Yeager) movie of the same name.

Unlike some of the other pioneers of aviation, Yeager's actual background was very modest. Shortly after he graduated from High School, the US entered WW2, whereupon he joined the USAAF as an enlisted man, later learning to fly with the "flying sergeants" programme.

By 1944, he had been commissioned, and, as a fighter pilot, became an air ace, showing extraordinary natural aptitude as a pilot, and boasting both exceptional eyesight and incredible reflexes; however, it was his subsequent career as a test pilot with the US air force that laid his claim to fame, above all, when he flew the X-1 in late 1947 breaking the sound barrier, and ushering in the era of supersonic flight. All of his planes - the fighter planes he flew during WW2 (and later, the Korean War and the Vietnam War) and the legendary test planes with which he repeatedly made aviation history (not only was he the first person to fly faster than sound, he was also the first person to fly at a velocity that was twice the speed of sound) were named Glamorous Glennis after Glennis, the woman he had married towards the end of WW2, and with whom he had enjoyed a long and happy relationship until her death from cancer in the 1990s.

He enjoyed an impressive career in the military, retiring as a greatly admired and respected - almost revered - Brigadier General.

RIP General Yeager.
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