U.S. Air Force Officer and test pilot Chuck Yeager, known as “the fastest man in the world,” died at age 97.
Chuck Yeager was the first person in history to overcome the sound barrier when he tested the X-1 in October 1947, although the public was not told about this feat until 1948. His death was confirmed by his second wife Victoria. “Incredibly well lived life – he was the greatest pilot in America,” she wrote on Twitter.
His legacy has also captured subsequent generations, and it was shown in the 1983 book and film The Right Material. John Nicoletti, a friend of Yeager’s, said that Yeager had experienced some physical problems in recent years – he fell, leading to complications and other problems because of his age. Yeager lived in Northern California and died in a hospital in Los Angeles.
The pilot was born in 1923 and grew up in West Virginia. In 1941 he joined the Air Force at the age of 18 and was sent to the Army Aviation Corps. In 1943, Yeager became a pilot of the Fighter Command of 8 air forces stationed in England. During the Second World War he made 64 departures and shot down 13 German planes.
He was shot down over France in March 1944 during his eighth combat flight, but managed to avoid capture by the French underground. He returned to the United States in 1945 and married his wife Glennis, after whom he named several of his warplanes. After the war, Yeager became a flight instructor and test pilot, working as an assistant maintenance officer in the fighter division of the flight test division in Wright Field, Ohio. He also performed on an air show.