A man who became synonymous with speed, Chuck Yeager, died Monday night at the age of 97. Yeager, who first broke the sound barrier in October 1947, was a hero beyond his contributions to both future military applications as well as the space program, having been one of the most successful fighter pilots during World War II’s European Theatre.
His wife announced her loss on Twitter:
Fr @VictoriaYeage11 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.
— Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) December 8, 2020
Many don’t realize just how crazy Yeager’s speed feat was, considering that he was essentially strapped into the seat of a rocket with wings, which was dropped from the belly of a bigger aircraft and then ignited to shoot to higher altitudes (where the atmosphere was thinner, thus providing less wind resistance) and the speeds which earned him the title of “fastest man alive” at the time.
Influential people across the spectrum reacted to the news of Yeager’s death on Twitter:
RIP American Legend Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager https://t.co/QwQWsHMDOc
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) December 8, 2020
Chuck Yeager’s daring and skill captured our imaginations and expanded our understanding of what was possible. His contributions to aviation were immeasurable, and he will he missed.
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) December 8, 2020
Saddened to hear the news of WWII fighter pilot & aviation pioneer Chuck Yeager's passing.
As the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, he paved the way for decades of human air & space flight.
May we always remember this American hero & his legacy. https://t.co/S716atbpvC
— Rep. Michael Waltz (@RepMichaelWaltz) December 8, 2020
Chuck Yeager redefined the possible. Where others saw limits, he saw opportunity and never stopped pushing the boundaries of flight. Above all, he was a patriot who dedicated his life to serving our nation. Jill and I are keeping his loved ones in our prayers. https://t.co/2KNzPGxllD
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 8, 2020
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) December 8, 2020
I’m saddened to hear the news of Chuck Yeager’s passing. While serving at @EdwardsAFB in California, he was the first person in history to break the sound barrier. He lived a remarkable life and served the United States with honor. My thoughts are with his family and friends. https://t.co/RPlTlNrXAc
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) December 8, 2020
Rest in Peace and Godspeed, Chuck Yeager!