Chuck Yeager, the most famous test pilot of his generation, who was the first to break the sound barrier and, thanks to Tom Wolfe, came to personify the death-defying aviator who possessed the elusive yet unmistakable “right stuff,” died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 97.
His death, at a hospital, was announced on his official Twitter account.
General Yeager came out of the West Virginia hills with only a high school education and with a drawl that left many a fellow pilot bewildered. The first time he went up in a plane, he was sick to his stomach.
But he became a fighter ace in World War II, shooting down five German planes in a single day and 13 over all. In the decade that followed, he helped usher in the age of military jets and spaceflight. He flew more than 150 military aircraft, logging more than 10,000 hours in the air.
His signal achievement came on Oct. 14, 1947, when he climbed out of a B-29 bomber as it ascended over the Mojave Desert in California and entered the cockpit of an orange, bullet-shaped, rocket-powered experimental plane attached to the bomb bay.
I know this is off topic, but General Yeager was my childhood hero. I still have the very dog-eared copy of his autobiography that I used to read by flashlight after bedtime as a kid.View Linked Article