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October 14 Sees Second Sound Barrier-Shattering World Record

Written by on Monday, October 15th, 2012

Sixty-five years ago Sunday, Chuck Yeager made history when he was the first person to ever break the sound barrier, achieving a speed of Mach 1 (about 761 mph) in the experimental rocket-propelled Bell X1 jet. At the venerable age of 89, Yeager is still at it.

Chuck Yeager

Image source: Chuckyeager.com

Replicating his historic flight down to the minute, Yeager flew in an F-15 over Edwards Air Force Base and at speeds of Mach 1.3 to generate a “pretty good sonic boom.” The legendary aviator in his typical calm-as-a-cucumber style, said, “I really appreciated the Air Force giving me a brand new F-15 to fly.” Of course, that was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Yeager acknowledged that he was a passenger in the back seat.

Yeager’s record-setting flight was much more than a benchmark of human achievement – Yeager helped to establish the US as a military aviation superpower. The research that he helped conduct provided engineers with invaluable information that gave the US a “quantum jump” over other countries. Yeager added that “It took the British, French and the Soviet Union another five years to find cheap cialis 5mg out” that supersonic flight required a horizontal stabilizer.

Thanks to Yeager and the team of professionals that made the first Mach 1 flight possible, aviation has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past six-and-a-half decades. Yeager blew Mach 1 out of the water on Sunday: “We had to keep it about 1.4 Mach… If you want to go up to Mach 2 you start breaking glasses and knocking in roofs.” Only Chuck Yeager can talk about flying at such high speeds that you can destroy houses in the same casual manner that somebody might mention driving to the grocery store.

Chuck Yeager

Image source: Cnn.com

Yeager wasn’t the only person to break the sound barrier on Sunday. Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a capsule that was suspended 128,100 feet above the surface of the Earth. He quickly hit speeds of 830 mph, just barely beating Yeager’s previous flight. Much like Yeager, Baumgartner’s jump has helped experts collect data about surviving in the edge of space.

October 14 – truly, this is a day in aviation history that will be hard to beat.

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