RIP Chuck Yeager

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by StratoMutt, Dec 8, 2020.

  1. StratoMutt

    StratoMutt Most Honored Senior Member

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    The link has a nice seven photo album to look through.

    https://apnews.com/article/chuch-yeager-dies-at-97-air-force-f027e8960916cbd8094ab9f05ec2cbf2

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    GRASS VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, the World War II fighter pilot ace and quintessential test pilot who showed he had the “right stuff” when in 1947 he became the first person to fly faster than sound, has died. He was 97.

    Yeager died Monday, his wife, Victoria Yeager, said on his Twitter account.

    “It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET. An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.”

    Yeager’s death is “a tremendous loss to our nation,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

    “Gen. Yeager’s pioneering and innovative spirit advanced America’s abilities in the sky and set our nation’s dreams soaring into the jet age and the space age. He said, ‘You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done,’” Bridenstine said.



    “In an age of media-made heroes, he is the real deal,” Edwards Air Force Base historian Jim Young said in August 2006 at the unveiling of a bronze statue of Yeager.

    He was “the most righteous of all those with the right stuff,” said Maj. Gen. Curtis Bedke, commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards.

    Yeager, from a small town in the hills of West Virginia, flew for more than 60 years, including piloting an F-15 to near 1,000 mph (1,609 kph) at Edwards in October 2002 at age 79.

    “Living to a ripe old age is not an end in itself. The trick is to enjoy the years remaining,” he said in “Yeager: An Autobiography.”

    “I haven’t yet done everything, but by the time I’m finished, I won’t have missed much,” he wrote. “If I auger in (crash) tomorrow, it won’t be with a frown on my face. I’ve had a ball.”

    On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager, then a 24-year-old captain, pushed an orange, bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane past 660 mph (1,062 kph) to break the sound barrier, at the time a daunting aviation milestone.

    “Sure, I was apprehensive,” he said in 1968. “When you’re fooling around with something you don’t know much about, there has to be apprehension. But you don’t let that affect your job.”

    The modest Yeager said in 1947 he could have gone even faster if the plane had carried more fuel. He said the ride “was nice, just like riding fast in a car.”

    Yeager nicknamed the rocket plane, and all his other aircraft, “Glamorous Glennis” for his first wife, who died in 1990.

    Yeager’s feat was kept top secret for about a year when the world thought the British had broken the sound barrier first.

    “It wasn’t a matter of not having airplanes that would fly at speeds like this. It was a matter of keeping them from falling apart,” Yeager said.

    Sixty-five years later to the minute, on Oct. 14, 2012, Yeager commemorated the feat, flying in the back seat of an F-15 Eagle as it broke the sound barrier at more than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) above California’s Mojave Desert.

    His exploits were told in Tom Wolfe’s book “The Right Stuff,” and in the 1983 film it inspired.

    Yeager was born Feb. 23, 1923, in Myra, a tiny community on the Mud River deep in an Appalachian hollow about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Charleston. The family later moved to Hamlin, the county seat. His father was an oil and gas driller and a farmer.

    “What really strikes me looking over all those years is how lucky I was, how lucky, for example, to have been born in 1923 and not 1963 so that I came of age just as aviation itself was entering the modern era,” Yeager said in a December 1985 speech at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

    “I was just a lucky kid who caught the right ride,” he said.

    Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Corps after graduating from high school in 1941. He later regretted that his lack of a college education prevented him from becoming an astronaut.

    He started off as an aircraft mechanic and, despite becoming severely airsick during his first airplane ride, signed up for a program that allowed enlisted men to become pilots.

    Yeager shot down 13 German planes on 64 missions during World War II, including five on a single mission. He was shot down over German-held France but escaped with the help of French partisans.

    After World War II, he became a test pilot at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

    Among the flights he made after breaking the sound barrier was one on Dec. 12. 1953, when he flew an X-1A to a record of more than 1,600 mph (2,575 kph).

    He said he had gotten up at dawn that day and went hunting, bagging a goose before his flight. That night his family ate the goose for dinner, Yeager said.

    He returned to combat during the Vietnam War, flying several missions a month in twin-engine B-57 Canberras, making bombing and strafing runs over South Vietnam.

    Yeager also commanded Air Force fighter squadrons and wings and the Aerospace Research Pilot School for military astronauts.

    “I’ve flown 341 types of military planes in every country in the world and logged about 18,000 hours,” he said in an interview in the January 2009 issue of Men’s Journal. “It might sound funny, but I’ve never owned an airplane in my life. If you’re willing to bleed, Uncle Sam will give you all the planes you want.”

    When Yeager left Hamlin, he was already known as a daredevil. On later visits, he often buzzed the town.

    “I live just down the street from his mother,” said Gene Brewer, retired publisher of the weekly Lincoln Journal. “One day I climbed up on my roof with my 8 mm camera when he flew overhead. I thought he was going to take me off the roof. You can see the treetops in the bottom of the pictures.”

    Yeager flew an F-80 under a Charleston bridge at 450 mph (724 kph) on Oct. 10, 1948, according to newspaper accounts.

    When he was asked to repeat the feat for photographers, Yeager replied: “You should never strafe the same place twice ’cause the gunners will be waiting for you.”

    Yeager never forgot his roots and West Virginia named bridges, schools and Charleston’s airport after him.

    “My beginnings back in West Virginia tell who I am to this day,” Yeager wrote. “My accomplishments as a test pilot tell more about luck, happenstance and a person’s destiny. But the guy who broke the sound barrier was the kid who swam the Mud River with a swiped watermelon or shot the head off a squirrel before going to school.”

    Yeager was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

    President Harry S. Truman awarded him the Collier air trophy in December 1948 for his breaking the sound barrier. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.

    Yeager retired from the Air Force in 1975 and moved to a ranch in Cedar Ridge in Northern California where he continued working as a consultant to the Air Force and Northrop Corp. and became well known to younger generations as a television pitchman for automotive parts and heat pumps.

    He married Glennis Dickhouse of Oroville, California, on Feb. 26, 1945. She died of ovarian cancer in December 1990. They had four children: Donald, Michael, Sharon and Susan.

    Yeager married 45-year-old Victoria Scott D’Angelo in 2003.
     
  2. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

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    A true American hero. Godspeed Chuck!
     
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  3. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Dr. Stratster Gold Supporting Member Silver Member

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    Best I know...
    Cedar Ridge and Peardale two sides of the same coin...
    He'd pop up every now and then in the Union...
    Court fight tween Mrs. And kids...
     
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  4. macoshark

    macoshark Senior Stratmaster

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    If you haven't read Yeagers' autobiography you might want to check it out. It's hard to put down
     
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  5. scooteraz

    scooteraz Senior Stratmaster

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    Yeager had quite a life, and it’s sad to see him go. He certainly was a hero of mine growing up. But, everyone has a time to go, and his life was longer (and fuller) than most. I remember reading at the time that he was allowed to fly a F-15 supersonically on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight (from the back seat), and I think Bob Hoover flew in the chase F-16.

    @macoshark Yeager actually authored two autobiographical books, the first was “Yeager: An Autobiography” released in 1985 and the second was “Press On!:Adventures in the Good Life” released in 1988. Both good reads, and show a man with incredible focus.

    Of course, much of Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff” was about Yeager, as well.
     
  6. Tdurden032

    Tdurden032 Strat-O-Master

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    One of my favorites to read growing up - what an amazing guy...
     
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  7. Cesspit

    Cesspit Strat-O-Master

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    Amazing man from 'that' generation. I read he broke the sound barrier with broken ribs after falling from a horse the day before. Had to use a cut down broom handle to close the access door. :eek:

    He was apparently also responsible for the southern drawl airline pilots adopted with its calm, 'I'm still in control' overtone. He was famous for it.

    As they say, they don't make 'em like that anymore........RIP
     
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  8. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Not Of This Earth

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    Sad about this one. What can you say that hasn’t been said. In a world where the word “Hero” gets thrown around too often he was the real deal...
     
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  9. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Dr. Stratster Gold Supporting Member Silver Member

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    Hero's?
    This what hero's look like....
    a.jpg
     
  10. DancesWithWeasels

    DancesWithWeasels Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    +1 for the mention of Bob Hoover. For those who don't know about him, it's worth your time to at least check out the Wikipedia article. He was cut from much the same cloth as Chuck Yeager, and was Yeager's request for the back-up pilot on the X-1 flights. These guys were truly awesome in the best spirit of the word.
     
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  11. fos1

    fos1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    He is one the heros from the greatest generation. I have always followed his accomplishments and adventures. A great loss for our country.

    RIP
     
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  12. tery

    tery Dr. Stratster

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    Rest In Peace .
     
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  13. Cedarburger

    Cedarburger Strat-Talk Member

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    "FASTER THAN SOUND"!!! Amazing. Godspeed, Sir!
     
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  14. StratoMutt

    StratoMutt Most Honored Senior Member

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    That newsreel is a kicker. No F-86 propaganda or anything. :whistling:

    Yes, our pilots dominated due to better training and tactics. The MiG had several advantages.
     
  15. scooteraz

    scooteraz Senior Stratmaster

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    Years ago (think late 1980’s) I would fly up to the EAA convention in Oshkosh,WI. every year. Seemed like every day there was an afternoon air show that could not be beaten, only to have a better one the the next day. Got to see Hoover multiple times in both his yellow Mustang and the Aero Commander Shrike. In the middle of the show he would do things in the Mustang that “couldn’t be done”. Then as the last act of the show, he’d do more things that “couldn’t be done” in the Shrike. The show ended was him diving in and shutting down both engines. He’d do an engine out loop, followed by an eight point roll. Both of those were on the downwind leg of the pattern. He’d then turn base and drop his gear on short final. He’d land the Shrike dead stick, and roll it (still no engines) to the “center stage” of the air show, parking it every time nose towards the crowd.

    The man was an amazing pilot.
     
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