Chuck Yeager is a retired American test pilot who was the first person to break the sound barrier — the point where a speeding object (such as an airplane) passes the speed of sound.
Charles Elwood Yeager was born in 1923, in West Virginia. After he graduated from high school he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. It was at the time when the WWII began when he started his career as a pilot. He showed extordinary skilld as an aircraft mechanics and pilot and he soon became a P-51 fighter pilot.
Soon after he was assigned to the Eighth Air Force for combat operations in World War II his P-51 Mustang was shot down over France, but Yeager evaded capture and escaped to Spain. Instead of going home, Yeager was willing to stay on the front and he got his request approved. So he stayed.
He was first commissioned a second lieutenant and later promoted to captain before going home. When he got back he had 61 mission and returned home. Since he was an evader, he could choose the assignments he was willing to do. He and his wife expected a child during this time, so he chose Wright Field to be close to his home in West Virginia.
His experience during the war and his skills got him the position of functional test pilot of repaired aircraft under the command of Colonel Albert Boyd, head of the Aeronautical Systems Flight Test Division.
Yeager remained in the Air Force after the war, becoming a test pilot at Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base). After Bell Aircraft test pilot “Slick” Goodlin demanded $150,000 ($1.6 million in 2015 dollars) to break the sound “barrier,” the USAAF selected Yeager to fly the rocket-powered Bell XS-1 in an NACA program to research high-speed flight.
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