Encyclopedia Astronautica
Yeager



yeager.jpg
Yeager
Yeager, Charles E (1923-) Premier American test pilot. First person to break the sound barrier. Flew all of the pioneering jet and rocketplanes of the 1950's, by the 1990's had flown 201 types of military aircraft and more than 14,000 flying hours.


USAF Official Biography

BRIGADIER GENERAL CHARLES E. YEAGER

Retired Air Force Brigadier General Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager gained fame as the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound. This historic flight in the Bell X-1 aircraft took place Oct. 14,1947, at Muroc Dry Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base), Calif.

General Yeager was born Feb. 13, 1923, in Myra, W.V. He attended the Citizens Military Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., in 1939 and 1940, and on Sept. 12, 1941, enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps. He was later accepted for pilot training under the flying sergeant program in July 1942, and received his pilot wings and appointment as a flight officer in March 1943 at Luke Field, Ariz.

After completing basic training at Ellington Field, Texas, he served for two months at Mather Field, Calif., and later at Moffet Field, Calif. On Dec. 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II and General Yeager was transferred to Victorville Air Base (now George Air Force Base), Calif., where he worked on AT-11 aircraft and received promotions to private first class and to corporal.

In July 1942, General Yeager was selected for pilot training and graduated March 10, 1943, from Luke Field, Phoenix, Ariz. He was promoted from corporal to flight officer.

General Yeager's first assignment was as a P-39 pilot with the 363d Fighter Squadron in Tonopah, Nev. As a member of the 363d he trained at various bases in the United States before going overseas to England in November 1943. While in England he flew P-51s in combat against the Germans, shooting down one ME-109 and an HE-111K before being shot down on his eighth combat mission over German-occupied France on March 5, 1944. He evaded capture when elements of the French Maquish helped him to reach the safety of the Spanish border.

Yeager remained in Spain until the summer of 1944 when he was released to the British at Gibraltar and returned to England.

He returned to his squadron and flew 56 more combat missions, shooting down 11 more German aircraft. Between July and October he was promoted from second lieutenant to captain.

Yeager returned to the United States in 1945 to attend the instructor pilot course and subsequently served as an instructor pilot at Perrin Field, Texas. In July 1945 he went to Wright Field, Ohio, and participated in various test projects including the P-80 "Shooting Star" and the P-84 Thunderjet." He also evaluated all of the German and Japanese fighter aircraft brought back to the United States after the war. This assignment led to his subsequent selection as pilot of the nation's first research rocket aircraft, the Bell X-1.

In January 1946 General Yeager attended the test Pilot School at Wright Field, Ohio, and in August 1947 was sent to Muroc Air Base, Calif., as the project officer on the Bell XS-1.

On Oct. 14, 1947, he flew the XS-1 past the sound barrier, becoming the world's first supersonic pilot. During the next two years, he flew the X-1 more than 40 times, exceeding 1,000 mph and 70,000 feet. He was the first American to make a ground takeoff in a rocket-powered aircraft. In December 1953 he flew the Bell X-1A 1,650 mph, becoming the first man to fly two and one-half times the speed of sound.

In 1952 General Yeager attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and two years later returned to Europe to serve as commander, 417th Fighter Squadron, Hahn Air Base, West Germany, and at Toul-Rosieres Air Base, France. During his tour in Europe, he took first-place honors in the 1956 Weapons Gunnery Meet.

In 1957 he returned to the United States and was assigned to the 413th Fighter Wing at George Air Force Base, Calif., and in 1958 became commander of the 1st Fighter Squadron, flying new F-100 "Super Sabres."

General Yeager graduated from the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in June 1961, and, in 1962, became commandant of the Aerospace Research Pilot School (now the USAF Test Pilot School), where all military astronauts were trained.

On Dec. 10, 1963, while testing an NF-104 rocket-augmented aerospace trainer, he narrowly escaped death when his aircraft went out of control at 108,700 feet (nearly 21 miles up) and crashed. He parachuted to safety at 8,500 feet after vainly battling to gain control of the powerless, rapidly falling craft. In this incident he became the first pilot to make an emergency ejection in the full pressure suit needed for high altitude flights.

In July 1966 he assumed command of the 405th Fighter Wing at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, and flew 127 missions in South Vietnam.

In February 1968 he assumed command of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and deployed with the wing to the Republic of Korea during the USS Pueblo crisis.

In July 1969 he became vice commander, 7th Air Force, at Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, and in August was promoted to brigadier general.

In 1971 he assumed duties as the United States defense representative to Pakistan.

In March 1973 General Yeager went to the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, Norton Air Force Base, Calif., and became director in June 1973.

He retired from active duty in the U.S. Air Force on March 1, 1975.

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem with one oak leaf cluster and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

His civilian awards include the MacKay Trophy, Federation Aeronautique International Gold Medal Award, the Collier Trophy and the Harmon Trophy. He was selected one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men by the Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1953, elected to the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973, presented the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement in 1974 and the Horatio Alger Award in 1986, awarded a peacetime Congressional Medal of Honor by the Congress of the United States (presented by President Gerald Ford in 1976), and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in May 1985.

General Yeager's professional military education includes Air Command and Staff College in 1952 and the Air War College in 1961. He was awarded honorary doctor of science degrees from West Virginia University in 1948, From Marshall University of Huntington, W.V., in 1969, from Salem College in 1974, and from the University of Charleston in 1983.

General Yeager has flown 201 types of military aircraft and has more than 14,000 flying hours, with more than 13,000 of these in fighter aircraft. He has most recently flown the SR-71, F-15, F-16, F-18 and the F-20 Tigershark.

He married the former Glennis Faye Dickhouse of Grass Valley, Calif. Mrs. Yeager passed away December 1990. He has two sons, Donald and Michael; and two daughters, Sharon and Susan.

General Yeager remains an active aviation enthusiast, acting as advisor for various films, programs and documentaries on aviation. He currency serves on the Boards of Directors of Louisiana Pacific Corp., the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the National Commission on Space and the commission to investigate the space shuttle Challenger accident in 1986. He is a consultant test pilot for the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

He has published two books entitled, "Yeager" and "Press On: Further Adventures in the Good Life."

Current as of March 1993

Birth Place: Myra, West Virginia.
Status: Inactive.


Born: 1923.02.13.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Yeager Chronology


1947 August 6 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 38 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 20. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF glide flight 1. Pilot familiarization..

1947 August 7 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 39 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 21. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF glide flight 2. .

1947 August 8 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 40 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 22. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF glide flight 3. .

1947 August 29 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 41 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 23. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF powered flight 1. Mach 0.85..

1947 September 4 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 42 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 24. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 2. About mach 0.89. Telemeter failure required repeat of this flight..

1947 September 8 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 43 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 25. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 3..

1947 September 10 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 44 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 26. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 4. Mach 0.91. Stability and control investigation..

1947 September 12 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 45 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 27. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 5. Mach 0.92. Check of elevator and stabilizer effectiveness. Also buffet investigation..

1947 September 25 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 46 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 2 flight 19. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: NACA acceptance flight. Number 4 cylinder burned out..

1947 October 3 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 47 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 28. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 6. Check of elevator and stabilizer effectiveness. Also buffet investigation..

1947 October 8 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 48 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 29. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 7. Airspeed calibration flight. Plane attained mach 0.925..

1947 October 10 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 49 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 30. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 8. Stability and control investigation. Plane attained mach 0.997..

1947 October 14 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 50 - first supersonic manned flight - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 31. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 9. World's first supersonic flight in level or climbing flight was made by Capt. Charles E. Yeager (USAF) at Muroc, Calif., in a rocket-powered NACA-USAF research plane, Bell XS-1XS-1 # 1 attained mach 1.06 at 13,115 m, approximately 1126 kph..

1947 October 27 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 52 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 32. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 10. Electric power failure. No rocket ignition..

1947 October 28 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 53 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 33. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 11. Telemetry failure..

1947 October 29 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 54 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 34. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 12. Telemetry failure..

1947 October 31 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 55 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 35. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 13..

1947 November 3 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 56 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 36. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 14..

1947 November 4 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 57 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 37. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 15..

1947 November 6 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 58 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 38. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 16. Mach 1.35 at 14823 m..

1948 January 16 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 65 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 39. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 17. Airspeed calibration. Mach 0.9..

1948 January 22 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 67 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 40. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 18. Pressure distribution survey. Mach 1.2..

1948 January 30 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 70 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 41. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 19. Pressure distribution survey. Mach 1.1..

1948 March 11 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 74 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 43. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 21. Attained mach 1.25 in dive..

1948 March 26 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 76 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 44. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 22. Attained mach 1.45 at 12239 m during dive. Fastest flight ever made in original XS-1 aircraft..

1948 March 31 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 79 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 45. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 23. Engine shutdown after launch. Propellants jettisoned, completed as glide flight..

1948 May 26 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 93 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 56. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 34. Buffet investigation, wing and tail loads. Mach 1.05..

1948 December 1 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 100 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 58. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 36. Handling qualities and wing and tail loads at mach 1..

1948 December 13 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 102 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 59. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 37. Handling qualities and wing and tail loads at mach 1..

1948 December 23 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 103 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 60. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 38. Wing and tail loads during supersonic flight at high altitudes. Mach 1.09..

1949 January 5 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 104 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 61. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 39. Rocket takeoff from the ground..

1949 May 2 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 111 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 68. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 46. Partial engine malfunction, faulty engine ignition plug..

1950 April 26 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 132 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 78. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 56. Lateral stability and control investigation..

1950 May 12 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 136 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 1 flight 81. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: AF flight 59. Last flight of XS-1 No. 1 rocket research airplane, for RKO motion picture "Test Pilot," which was turned over to the National Air Museum at the Smithsonian on August 28th..

1951 April 6 - .
  • XS-1 Flight 143 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: XS-1 # 2 flight 62. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: XS-1. Summary: NACA flight 42. Flight for RKO film Jet Pilot. Slight engine fire but no damage..

1953 November 21 - .
  • X-1A Flight 7 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: X-1A flight 7. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: X-1A. Summary: AF flight 1. Reached mach 1.15. Familiarization purposes..

1953 December 2 - .
  • X-1A Flight 8 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: X-1A flight 8. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: X-1A. Summary: AF flight 2. Mach 1.5..

1953 December 8 - .
  • X-1A Flight 9 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: X-1A flight 9. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: X-1A. Summary: AF flight 3. First high-mach flight attempt by X-1A. Mach 1.9 attained at 18300 m during slight climb..

1953 December 12 - .
  • X-1A Flight 10 - . Crew: Yeager. Payload: X-1A flight 10. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Yeager. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft: X-1A. Summary: AF flight 4. Plane attained mach 2.44, but met violent instability above mach 2.3. Tumbled 15250 m, wound up in subsonic inverted spin. Yeager recovered to upright spin, then normal flight at 7625 m..

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use