Aircraft Index

Fighter Aces & Famous Pilots



Chuck Yeager
WW2 Fighter Pilot and Test Pilot

US Air Force Pilot Chuck Yeager was a fighter pilot during the World War II. In 1947, he became the first pilot to break the sound barrier in level flight. Later in life, he was able to break the sound barrier for the last time in a F-15D Eagle at the higher speed of Mach 1.45 in 2002 at the age of 79.

He received numerous awards as a result of his achievements and was assigned to many different military posts between 1954 and 1962. Now, he is enjoying his retirement at the age of 91 in Penn Valley, California.

Fast Facts
Birthday: February 13, 1923

Chuck Yeager

Place of Birth: Myra, West Virginia, U.S.
Nickname: Chuck

Background and Early Life
Yeager, born to farming parents graduated high school in Hamlin, West Virginia. He joined the Citizens Military Training Camp at the Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana in 1939. In June 1961, he graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base.


Personal Life and Family
Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager was born on February 13, 1923 to the farmers Susie Mae and Albert Hal Yeager in Myra, West Virginia. He had 4 siblings namely, Roy, Hal Jr., Doris Ann and Pansy Lee. On February 26, 1945, Yeager married Glennis Dickhouse and they had 4 children, Susan, Don, Mickey and Sharon. In 1990, Glennis died due to ovarian cancer. 10 year later, he met actress Victoria D’Angelo while hiking on a trail in Nevada County. On August 2003, they married and are currently living in Penn Valley, California.

Work and Career - World War II
He started as an aircraft mechanic at George Air Force Base. He wanted to be enlisted for flight training but due to his age and educational background he was declined. When the World War II started, he was finally accepted by the force. This started all his great career as an air force fighter and test pilot.

Work and Career - Post WW2
After the war, Yeager was assigned as A test pilot and was tasked to be the first to break the sound barrier. Luckily, he successfully broke the sound barrier flying the X-1 experimental rocket powered aircraft flying at a speed of Mach 1.07 and altitude of 45,000 feet on October 14th, 1947.

On March 1, 1975, Yeager whilst serving at Norton Air Force Base finally retired from the Air Force . But he did not fall out of the limelight as he was strongly connected with General Motors. He was even appointed by President Reagan to join the investigation regarding the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. On the 65th anniversary of his breaking the sound barrier flight, he created a new record at the age of 89 by flying a F-15D Eagle to Mach 1.45 at an unprecedented age.

Influence & Legacy
As the most accomplished test pilot and aviator, Chuck Yeager is a permanent fixture in history. No one could ever forget how he breaks the sound barrier twice with the highest speed possible. Even at a late age, he was still setting new records. He sure is a truly legendary pilot.


"You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can't, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don't give up."

"You don't concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done."

"Rules are made for people who aren't willing to make up their own."

"Most pilots learn when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don't do,
you don't believe anything anybody tells you about an airplane."

"If you want to grow old as a pilot, you've got to know when to push it, and when to back off.

"There's no such thing as a natural-born pilot."

"I was always afraid of dying. Always! It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit."

"Later, I realized that the mission had to end in a let-down because the real barrier wasn't in the sky,
but in our knowledge and experience of supersonic flight."


Medals and Awards

Personal Decorations:

  • Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
  • Silver Star with bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Legion of Merit with bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Distinguished Flying Cross with two bronze oak leaf clusters
  • Bronze Star Medal with bronze valor device
  • Purple Heart
  • Air Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters
  • Air Force Commendation Medal

Unit Awards:

  • Presidential Unit Citation with bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
  • Campaign and Service Medals
  • American Defense Service Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with silver and three bronze service stars
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom

Chuck Yeager


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Chuck Yeager - WW2 Fighter Ace


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