Bob van der Linden in Smithsonian:
The greatest pilot of the greatest generation has passed. Seventy-nine years to the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, famed test pilot, World War II ace, and the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, died at the age of 97.
On October 14, 1947, Yeager forever shattered the myth of the so-called “sound barrier” when he piloted his Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis to 700 miles per hour (Mach 1.06) 43,000 feet above the southern California desert. The X-1 program contributed greatly to the understanding of the challenges of transonic and supersonic flight. Of great significance to the security and prosperity of the country, these lessons were directly applied to the next generation of military and commercial aircraft, keeping America in the forefront of aeronautical research.