Chuck Yeager breaks the Sound Barrier

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Sixty years ago today, on 14 October 1947, the great USAF test pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in his Bell X-1 rocket plane. A West Virginia farm boy and WWII ace shatters the skies and makes the ground tremble.

Today I will watch my beloved DVD of *The Right Stuff* (1983), in which the role of Yeager is played so well by Sam Shepard. If you have never seen this movie, you definitely must check it out. That long-gone world of test pilots and early Mercury astronauts was truly the Heroic Age.


-Ross Barlow.

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Ross; The Right Stuff is a great movie. Is it out on DVD? Col. Yeager makes an appearance at Air & Space Museum every year and I have seen there. He is an authentic American hero.

Yeager is not only one of the greatest flyers ever but a genuine Warrior. He shot up at least one Messerschmidt 262 (Germany's swept wing jet fighter) while flying his P-51 (the best propeller driven fighter ever). Now that's flying! Forget the speed and altitude records.

Yeager was denied a chance to participate in the early Apollo Program because he was not a college boy. Perhaps it is just as well. Somehow I do not see Chuck enjoy being "spam in the can" which is how many of the early participants in the Mercury program saw themselves. A pilot had very little control over the Mercury capsule. Of course if Robert Heinlein ran the space program, he would have seen to it that Chuck Yeager could actually fly his capsule.

The best human beings are Warriors, Aviators and Mathematicians/Theoretical Physicists. Two out of three ain't bad, Chuck.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf
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Bob; In The Right Stuff there was a big emphasis on Eisenhower's decision to insist on test pilots. Did Eisenhower insist on the college degree.

I am not sure who made that decision. Chuck Yeager was the quintessential test pilot. So on that count he qualified three times over.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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~ The makers of the movie, themselves, had 'The Right Stuff.' The movie was fairly long for a theatrical release then.

~ Definitely worth catching by those who haven't. These kind of guys are the ones who'll be fixing up a moon-base for our offspring/descendents, who'll need The Right Stuff for...whatever's needed next.



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