10 years before Sputnik, and 60 years ago today, Air Force test pilot Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than Mach 1 and break the sound barrier. This is one of my favorite historic events due to my pre-adolescent obsession with The Right Stuff which lead me to read Yeager several times as well as make multiple visits to The National Air & Space Museum (where the Bell X-1 “Glamorous Glennis” is on display) and read everything I could find about aviation history.
A conservative military man like Yeager is a strange hero for a peacenik liberal like myself, but hey, Chuck Yeager is just that bad ass. And he’s a great story-teller too. He even has his own website.
MetaFilter and Bad Astronomy each provide tributes to Yeager on this anniversary.
Here’s the scene as depicted in The Right Stuff: