Share This Article

eager Breaks the Sound Barrier

Air Force fighter ace and test pilot Captain Chuck Yeager became the first pilot to fly faster than the speed of sound when his Bell XS-1 experimental rocket plane accelerated to Mach 1.07 over Rogers Dry Lake on October 14, 1947. Suspended from the belly of a Boeing B-29, Glamorous Glennis was dropped at 10:26 a.m. from a height of 20,000 feet. Yeager (who had broken two ribs in a riding accident the night before) fired the four rocket motor chambers in pairs, breaking through the sound barrier as he increased airspeed to almost 700 mph and climbed to an altitude of 43,000 feet. The XS-1 remained at supersonic speeds for 20.5 seconds, with none of the buffeting that characterized high-speed subsonic flight. The 14-minute flight was Yeager’s ninth since being named primary pilot in June 1947.

Painting ‘Hey Pard, You’ll get a Free Steak at Pancho’s Tonight!’ By Mike Machat