Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier

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: