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Yeager, Charles ("Chuck") E. (1923–)

Chuck Yeager
United States Air Force test pilot who, on October 14, 1947, piloted the X-1 on the first supersonic powered flight – an event he almost missed. The Sunday before his record-breaking mission, while horseback riding, Yeager hit a fence that had been closed across a road and cracked two ribs. Instead of informing the flight surgeon and risking being grounded, Yeager and a friend decided he could fly the plane but would have difficulty reaching over to lock the cockpit door. His friend cut off a piece of broomstick, which Yeager used to push the locking mechanism closed before taking off on his historic flight. Upon his return, only a few were able to congratulate him immediately on his achievement. The X-1 project was classified at the time, and his speed record was not made public until June 1948. In later years, Yeager served in several Air Force positions, retiring as a brigadier general.

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