Chuck Yeager, a World War II flying ace and the first pilot to break the sound barrier has died at the age of 97. His wife tweeted from his Twitter account with the news. Yeager spent his career flying. Much of this career was spent breaking barriers in aviation, like the sound barrier, along with other records. He retired from the Air Force in 1975 as a Brigadier General. At the time of his retirement, Yeager had flown 10,131.6 hours in 361 different makes and models of military aircraft.
Fr @VictoriaYeage11 It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET. An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.
— Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) December 8, 2020
For those who remember Disney California Adventure on opening day, there was a big orange plane rocketing out of what is now known as Smokejumpers Grill. Back then, it was Taste Pilots’ Grill and the area was known as Condor Flats. The plane that was blasting out of it was a recreation of the Glamorous Glennis, Chuck Yeager’s plane when he became the first pilot to break the sound barrier. Inside there were other photos and mementos adorning the walls from other test pilots. There were also massive engines and other flight equipment in and around Taste Pilots’ Grill.
The plane, Glamorous Glennis, was a rocket-powered Bell X-1 and a part of the Air Force’s Flight Test Division. The sound barrier was broken on October 14, 1947, over Rogers Dry Lake in Southern California. When Yeager broke the sound barrier, he was the fastest man alive. He flew in the X-1 as it reached Mach 1.06 or 700 mph.
When Disney California Adventure, Condor Flats represented an airfield in a high desert and celebrated the courage and adventure of pilots and the legacy they have made in California. Near Taste Pilots’ Grill, Soarin’ Over California celebrated California and the queue to the attraction also celebrated the history of flight. Chuck Yeager was very much a big part of that history.
Yeager is survived by his wife; two daughters, Susan Yeager and Sharon Yeager Flick; and a son, Don. Another son, Michael, died in 2011.