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Gen. Chuck Yeager, first person to break sound barrier, dies at 97

1947: U.S. Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager becomes the first human to break the sound barrier while flying a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft over the high desert of Southern California.
1947: U.S. Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager becomes the first human to break the sound barrier while flying a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft over the high desert of Southern California. (U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons)

HOUSTON – Gen. Chuck Yeager, a fighter pilot best known as becoming the first person to break the sound barrier, died Monday. He was 97.

Yeager’s wife shared the news of his passing on his official Twitter account.

Born in West Virginia, Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and flew during World War II and shot down more than a dozen German planes. He was shot down over German-occupied France and was rescued by French Resistance.

On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager flew a rocket plan called “Glamorous Glennis” over the Mojave Desert to break the sound barrier. His accomplishment wasn’t announced publicly until the summer of 1948.

Yeager went on to become a trainer of some of the first American astronauts. He made an appearance in the movie “The Right Stuff,” which is about the early days of the American space program.


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