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Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager

(Born February 13, 1923)

World War II Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager is a former United States Air Force officer and record-setting test pilot. In 1947, he became the first pilot confirmed to have exceeded the speed of sound in level flight. Yeager's career began in World War II as a private in the United States Army Air Forces. After serving as an aircraft mechanic, in September 1942 he entered enlisted pilot training and upon graduation was promoted to the rank of flight officer (the World War II USAAF equivalent to warrant officer) and became a P-51 fighter pilot. After the war, Yeager became a test pilot of many types of aircraft, including experimental rocket-powered aircraft. As the first human to officially break the sound barrier, on October 14, 1947, he flew the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 m). Although Scott Crossfield was the first to fly faster than Mach 2 in 1953, Yeager shortly thereafter set a new record of Mach 2.44.

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