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Chuck Yeager

Aviator

Born: 13 February 1923
Birthplace: Myra, West Virginia
Best known as: The man who broke the sound barrier

Chuck Yeager was the first human to fly faster than the speed of sound. A combat pilot in World War II, Yeager was shot down over France in 1943, but managed to escape without being captured. After the war he was put in charge of pilot training for experimental aircraft, and on October 14, 1947 became the first person to break the sound barrier, flying a rocket powered Bell X-1 jet. He helped train the first U.S. astronauts and, as if there were no end to his studliness, flew combat missions over Vietnam in the 1960s. In the 1980s Yeager became a celebrity, thanks in large part to the 1984 film made from Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff, an account of the early U.S. space program.

Extra credit:

Yeager's Bell X-1 was called the Glamorous Glennis in tribute to Yeager's wife... Yeager was played by actor Sam Shepard in the film The Right Stuff; Yeager himself had a small role in the film as a bartender.

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