First Man to Break Sound Barrier, Chuck Yeager, Dead at 97

(AP Photo/US Air Force, file)

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:

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:

Rest in Peace and Godspeed, Chuck Yeager!