Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the speed of sound dies age 97.
Charles Elwood Yeager, born on 13th February 1923, was a United States Air Force officer, flying ace, and record-setting test pilot.
In October 1947, Yeager became the first person ever to break the speed of sound flying the X-1 Glamorous Glennis at Mach 1.05 at an altitude of 45,000ft.
Yeager enlisted as a private in the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) on September 12, 1941, and became an aircraft mechanic. At enlistment, Yeager was not eligible for flight training because of his age and educational background, but the entry of the U.S. into World War II less than three months later prompted the USAAF to alter its recruiting standards.
Yeager demonstrated outstanding flying skills and combat leadership. On October 12, 1944, he became the first pilot in his group to make "ace in a day" downing five enemy aircraft in a single mission. Yeager remained in the Air Force after the war, becoming a test pilot at Muroc Army Air Field.
Yeagers success in breaking the sound barrier was announced to the public until June 1948. Yeager was awarded the Mackay Trophy and the Collier Trophy in 1948 for his mach-transcending flight, and the Harmon International Trophy in 1954.
The X-1 he flew that day was later put on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institutions National Air and Space Museum.
On March 1, 1975, following assignments in Germany and Pakistan, Yeager retired from the Air Force after serving over 33 years on active duty, although he continued to occasionally fly for the USAF and NASA as a consulting test pilot at Edwards AFB.
Even after his retirement, Yeager went on to set several light general aircraft performance records for speed, range, and endurance in the 1980s and 1990s.
Yeager's death was announced via his official Twitter account:
“It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9 pm ET," the tweet said, attributing the quote to Yeager's wife, actress Victoria Scott D'Angelo. "An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever."