Photo of Charles E. Yeager

Charles E. (Chuck) Yeager

Charles E. (Chuck) Yeager (1923-2020) enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1941 at the age of eighteen. He worked as an aircraft mechanic and pilot before going over the Atlantic to fight in World War II. Upon returning from war, he entered test pilot school and so impressed his superiors that he was selected to fly the X-1 from over 125 senior pilots. On October 14, 1947, Yeager broke the sound barrier over the town of Victorville, California. Six years later, on another test flight, Yeager pushed his plane, the X-1A, to new heights, but almost lost his life as his plane came within feet of crashing. During the fifties, he flew several experimental aircraft for the Air Force and investigated various accidents. In 1960 he was appointed director of the Space School at Edwards Air Force Base. He went to Vietnam as a wing commander in 1966 and flew over 120 combat missions. In 1986, Yeager was appointed to the Presidential Commission investigating the Challenger accident. See Chuck Yeager, Yeager (New York: Bantam Books, 1982); "Interview: Chuck Yeager," Omni Magazine, August, 1986; "Chuck Yeager," biographical file, NASA Historical Reference Collection.


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Updated November 30, 2021

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