Charles E. (Chuck) Yeager
(1923- ) 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
Updated September 18, 1997