What Year Did Chuck Yeager Break The Sound Barrier

Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier

The Life of Chuck Yeager

Charles Elwood Yeager, also known as Chuck Yeager, was a retired United States Air Force officer, flying ace, and test pilot. Born on February 13, 1923, in Myra, West Virginia, Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Corps in September 1941, shortly before the United States entered World War II.

Chuck Yeager as a pilot

Yeager flew 64 combat missions in Europe during the war and was shot down over France. He evaded capture and returned to England to continue flying missions. After the war, he became a test pilot and became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.

The Sound Barrier

The sound barrier, also known as the “sonic barrier,” is the sudden increase in aerodynamic drag and decrease in aircraft control that occurs when an object approaches the speed of sound. Many pilots believed that it was impossible to fly faster than the speed of sound without encountering catastrophic events.

Diagram of the sound barrier

The Bell X-1

In 1947, Yeager was selected to fly the Bell X-1 rocket plane, a research aircraft designed to break the sound barrier. On October 14, 1947, Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight, reaching a speed of Mach 1.06 or 700 miles per hour.

Bell X-1 rocket plane

The Flight

Yeager’s flight lasted just over ten minutes, and he broke the sound barrier at an altitude of 45,000 feet over the Mojave Desert in California. The flight was a significant achievement in aviation history and paved the way for supersonic flight.

Mojave Desert

The Legacy of Chuck Yeager

Yeager continued to work as a test pilot and served in the Air Force for over 30 years. He retired in 1975 as a brigadier general and continued to fly as a consultant for various companies. Yeager passed away on December 7, 2020, at the age of 97.

Chuck Yeager's legacy


Chuck Yeager’s historic flight on October 14, 1947, forever changed aviation and inspired generations of pilots and astronauts. His bravery and dedication to aviation will always be remembered.

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