Legendary US Air Force Test pilot Chuck Yeager, “The Fastest Man Alive,” Dies Aged 97

Legendary US Air Force Test pilot Chuck Yeager, dubbed “The Fastest Man Alive,” has died at the age of 97.

Legendary US Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager, known as the fastest man alive after becoming the first pilot to break the sound barrier, has died. Yeager actually broke the sound barrier when he tested the X-1 in October 1947, although the feat was not announced to the public until 1948.

Chuck Yeager, who was also a World War II fighter ace, was the first human to travel faster than sound. His gutsy test pilot exploits were immortalized in the bestselling book “The Right Stuff,”  his wife said he died on Monday, December 7.

“It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9 pm ET,” Victoria Yeager tweeted on her husband’s account. “An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.” His wife did not specify the cause of his death.

General Chuck Yeager came out of the West Virginia hills with only a high school education and with a drawl that left many a fellow pilot bewildered. The first time he went up in a plane, he was sick to his stomach.

But he became a fighter ace in World War II, shooting down five German planes in a single day and 13 over all. In the decade that followed, he helped usher in the age of military jets and spaceflight. He flew more than 150 military aircraft, logging more than 10,000 hours in the air.

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Tony Winterburn

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