Pilot Chuck Yeager Dies At 97, Had 'The Right Stuff' And Then Some

Pilot Chuck Yeager Dies At 97, Had 'The Right Stuff' And Then Some
December 7, 2020
Chuck Yeager and Glamorous Glennis, Bell X-1 broke the sound barrier
Credit: NPR.org/Associated Press — One of the world's most famous aviators has died: Chuck Yeager — best known as the first to break the sound barrier — died at the age of 97.

NPR Radio
December 7, 2020,11:28 PM ET
Heard on Morning Edition
Russell Lewis

Yeager started from humble beginnings in Myra, W.Va., and many people didn't really learn about him until decades after he broke the sound barrier — all because of a book and popular 1983 movie called The Right Stuff.

He accomplished the feat in a Bell X-1, a wild, high-flying rocket-propelled orange airplane that he nicknamed "Glamorous Glennis," after his first wife who died in 1990. It was a dangerous quest — one that had killed other pilots in other planes. And the X-1 buffeted like a bucking horse as it approached the speed of sound — Mach 1 — about 700 miles per hour at altitude.

As popularized in The Right Stuff, Yeager broke the sound barrier on Oct. 14, 1947, at Edwards Air Force Base in California. But there were no news broadcasts that day, no newspaper headlines. The aviation feat was kept secret for months. In 2011, Yeager told NPR that the lack of publicity never much mattered to him. "I was at the right place at the right time. And duty enters into it. It's not, you know, you don't do it for the — to get your damn picture on the front page of the newspaper. You do it because it's duty. It's your job."

For more: https://www.npr.org/2020/12/07/341894780/pilot-chuck-yeager-dies-at-97-h...