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CHUCK YEAGER

THE AVIATION LEGEND WHO BROKE THE SOUND BARRIER

This is my tribute site to retired USAF Brigadier General Charles E "Chuck" Yeager. Anyone interested in obtaining an autographed photograph from an aviation legend, please send an email to me (my email address is at the bottom of this page), all emails will be answered.

Get A Signed Photograph of General Chuck Yeager

I have official details from General Yeager's office on how to obtain a signed photograph of this legendary pilot. To get these details, please email me and I will tell you how to go about it. Please also feel free to email me with any other queries regarding General Yeager or this website.

Please take time to fill in my guestbook, which you'll find below. Your feedback and comments on the site are welcomed. Just click on the sign my guestbook button.

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Updates

New Items added

General Bob Cardenas Jackie Cochran Search the site Yeager at the NASM Pancho Barnes

The latest addition to the site is a biography on retired Brigadier General Robert L. "Bob" Cardenas with many high quality rare photographs from throughout his career. You can also learn how to obtain a signed photograph from General Cardenas who was the B-29 launch pilot on the day that Yeager broke the sound barrier. This website now has its own new domain name, so please update your bookmarks/favorites to www.mach-buster.co.uk. The memories of Bell X-1 aerodynamacist Dr. William H. Pell PhD are printed with permission from Dr. Pell's widow Dorothy. Thanks are given to fellow X-1 aerodynamacist Stanley C. Tracz for bringing this important and interesting document to my attention. TheChuck Yeager Gallery has now been split into 5 seperate sections to enable faster page downloads and has had many new photographs added, including autographs from Bob Hoover and Slick Goodlin. The XF-92A was America's first successful delta-winged aircraft & Chuck Yeager was the primary Airforce pilot, click here to read its story and see the photographs. With new information given to me by former Convair Flight Test Engineer William F. Chana, there will be much more information on this pioneering aircraft.

For those who would like the chance to see/meet General Yeager at public events, check out General Yeager's personal appearances. General Yeager appeared at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C. on October 9th, 2001. To see photographs from his talk, please visit NASM Talk.

Please take time to visit this page General Chuck Yeager Video. This page is hosted on the CE Bud Anderson web site. The video is 26 minutes in duration and was put together by Dr. James O. Young of the AFFTC History Office at Edwards Air Force Base. The video is split into 4 six-and-a-half minute segments and is a REAL Player file.

Many thanks to Jim Anderson for allowing me to link to this page. The video covers all of General Yeager's flying career, including footage of the Bell X-1, X-1A, Douglas X-3, testing the MiG-15 at Okinawa and Chuck's flight in the Lockheed NF-104 aerospace trainer. To visit Bud's entire website, visit the links page or click here CEBUDANDERSON.com

Update's planned

Numerous people have asked me to write pages on General Boyd, Bob Hoover, Jackie Ridley and Bud Anderson. These will take me some time to complete, but hopefully over the coming months or so, I will add these new pages.

Site updated on May 25th, 2002.

Thankyou for visiting my site, I hope you enjoy your visit. Come back soon.

A Legend is born

To those of you who are uninformed, Chuck Yeager is the man who first piloted an aircraft through the then mythical sonic wall or sound barrier.

Chuck Yeager was born on the 13th February 1923 to Albert Hal Yeager & Susie Mae Yeager, christened Charles Elwood Yeager and the second of their five children.

The early part of his life was spent in a village called Myra, on the upper Mud River, but the formative part of his life was in the town of Hamlin, West Virginia, where he is now its most famous son.

Yeager Joins the Army Air Corps

In the summer of 1941, armed with nothing more than his birth certificate & high school diploma from Hamlin High School, Chuck Yeager enlisted with the Army Air Corps for a two year stretch.

Originally training as an aircraft mechanic (after growing up around truck engines & drilling equipment generators) Yeager was naturaly gifted when it came to mechanical things, he just understood how things worked. He was one of the few kids in his home town who was able to take apart a motorcar engine and put it back together again (with no extra bits left over!). He also had (and still has) great eyesite and hand/eye co-ordination, a skill learned while hunting in the backwoods of West Virginia. So without really knowing, he had all the basic skills required to be a fighter pilot.

After taking his first airplane ride, young Yeager would have rather crawled on hands and knees back home than go back up for a spin. His first flight was in the back seat of a T-6 Harvard being piloted by a maintenance officer flight testing an aircraft that Yeager had just serviced. He threw up all over the back seat and after the flight, staggered out of the airplane in a heck of a miserable state.

But being young and eager, Yeager soon forgot all about the sickness when the Air Corps announced the "FLYING SERGEANT" programme. Really only thinking about getting 3 stripes and being pulled off guard duty, Yeager applied.

After being sick in his first few flights, he soon overcame it, and with having the good co-ordination I mentioned before, Yeager had less trouble than most of the rest of the class at handling a stick & rudder. After only 15 hours of flying time, an instructor complimented Yeager on how good he was, thinking that he had flown a lot before entering service. When Yeager told the instructor that he was a novice, the instructor was damned impressed.

It wasn't long before Yeager (still only 18)was whipping the other members of his training group in mock dogfights. After completing flight training, the instructor of his group recommended he become a fighter pilot.

Chuck's Dad & younger brother Hal Jr. came to Arizona to see him get his pilot's wings, but Yeager didn't report to the 363rd Fighter Squadron as a flying Sergeant. The regulations had been changed and Charles Elwood Yeager instead became a non-commissioned flight officer, wearing blue bars on his uniform instead of the gold of a sergeant.

At Tonopah, Nevada, Yeager began fighter pilot training in the Bell P-39 Airacobra, some 5 years later a Bell aircraft would herald a great opportunity for Chuck Yeager. The P-39 was a unique aircraft, with tricycle instead of tail dragger landing gear and a slightly strange position for the engine. It was mounted behind the pilot with the prop-shaft going through a tunnel between the pilot's legs.

All pilot's in the three squadrons's that made up his fighter group hated the P-39 apart from Chuck, he would have happily flown it off to war. Before the Russian's got their hands on the P-39 as part of the lend-lease agreement, some of the American pilots sang a song about the P-39.

Don't give me a P-39

With an engine thats mounted behind

It will tumble and roll

And dig a big hole-

Don't give me a P-39.

The six months of squadron training were amongst the happiest Yeager had ever been. It was during this time that a great friendship was struck with Clarence E "Bud/Andy" Anderson. They have been life-long friends and still raise a bit of hell together every now and then.

In fact, "Bud" Anderson has been in the air with Chuck in all 3 occasions that Chuck has had to bail out of an airplane.

1- During squadron training.

2- During a dogfight on Sunday March 5 1944.

3- Flying the ARPS Lockheed NF-104, while trying to set a new worlds altitude record while also finding the limits of the airplane before the school's students flew the programme. Chuck was in fact very badly burned bailing out of the NF-104. The ejection seat smashed through the face-plate of his crash helmet and the lava from the seats solid rocket motors ignited the oxygen in the helmet and Chuck Yeager's head became a fire-ball. After a very painful and new technique of scraping off the scabs, Yeager's skin healed to show hardly a blemish. You should watch the movie "The Right Stuff" to get an idea of this and some of the other parts of Chuck's life that marks him out as a true living legend.

Flying during WW2

Flying from Leiston(Suffolk) which was US station No. 373 as part of the 357th FG during WW2, he beacame a double ace with eleven-and-a-half kills (5 of which were in one day) in the North American P-51 Mustang, Chuck was also one of the first pilots to shoot down a Messerschmitt ME-262 jet fighter.

In the year 1944 at Leiston, Yeager flew in 61 combat missions. On only his eighth combat mission on March 5th 1944, Yeager was shot down. Over the next 25 days, Yeager hid in a succession of farm houses and barns whilst evading capture by the German forces. With the help of the French underground, Yeager escaped into Spain and turned himself over to the local police. It was late May before Yeager made it back to Leiston. After at first being told that he would have to return home to America, Yeager would not accept this and battled his way to the top and met with General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who eventually gave in to Yeager's wishes so that he could finish off his tour of duty.

Below is a list of the top scoring aces and their number of kills from the 357th Fighter Group that were based at Leiston during WW2.

Leonard K "Kit" Carson - 18.5 kills

John B. England - 17.5 kills

Clarence E. "Bud" Anderson jnr - 16.25 kills

Richard A. "Pete" Peterson - 15.5 kills

Robert W. Foy - 15 kills

Donald H. "Don" Bochkay - 13.75 kills

John A. Kirla - 11.5 kills

Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager - 11.5 kills

John A. Storch - 10.5 kills

There were many other "aces" in the 357th fighter group, for a deeper history, please visit the 357th Fighter Group website by Frank Aldridge and 357th Fighter Group photo album by Hoyt Parmer, these are wonderful sites full of information on the the fighter group that scored 701.5 kills in a fourteen month period.

After WW2

Chuck got married to Glennis Dickhouse from Oroville, California on February 26th 1945 in Hamlin. The newly wed Yeager's had a hard time getting on base housing due to Chuck being on temporary duty. At the time, he was based at Wright Field in Ohio.

It was not until he finished test flying and took command of his own squadron that housing was provided for them. By this time there were four little Yeager's in the household, Donald, Mike, Sharon & Susie.

After returning from the war he became a maintenance officer, testing aircraft that had just undergone maintenance. It was in this roll that he managed to log in a number of hours in the early jet aircraft.

His prowess in the air was soon noticed by the head of the flight test center Colonel Albert G. Boyd as Yeager waxed the tail of every test pilot in the division and Yeager was asked to become a test pilot at Wright-Patterson in Dayton Ohio, testing all the new aircaft in the Air Forces inventory.

He then was hand picked by the leader of Flight Test operations Colonel Albert G. Boyd & Colonel Fred J. Ascani to take on the most important task in military flight history to that time BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER.

Breaking the Sound Barrier

The aircraft chosen for this purpose by the Air Force was the Bell X-1, which Chuck named Glamorous Glennis in honour of his beautiful wife.

The X-1 was a small orange craft in the shape of a fifty calibre bullet powered by a four-chamber Reaction Motors XLR-11 rocket motor which developed 6000 pounds of thrust. With all four chambers running the X-1 only had an endurance of some three-and-one-half minutes, so therefore the X-1 had to be air launched.

The date was October 14th 1947, the place Muroc Air Force Base(later renamed Edwards AFB) Southern California. A few days previous to this date, Chuck Yeager had fallen from a horse while out riding with his wife. In the fall he broke his ribs and confided only in his close friend and engineer on the project Captain Jack L Ridley that due to the accident he would be unable to close the hatch of the X-1. He also went to a Doctor friend who taped up his ribs and agreed not to mention it to anyone.

On the morning of the flight Chuck found out the Jackie Ridley had sawn off approximately 10 inches of a broom handle in order for him to close the hatch.

The X-1 was mated to the B-29 mothership by a standard heavy duty bomb shackle and the pilot of the B-29 was Major Robert "Bob" Cardenas who also happened to be in charge of the project at Muroc. Flying high chase in a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was First Lieutenant Robert A. "Bob" Hoover.

When the B-29 reached 8000 feet, Yeager climbed into the bomb bay and lowered himself on the little elevator down to the X-1's open hatch. In some discomfort he managed to get in, get hooked up to all the aircraft's systems(radio, Oxygen, etc), then the door was lowered and with the aid of the broom handle he was able to lock the door. After climbing to the launch altitude of 20000 feet, Cardenas put the B-29 into a shallow dive to obtain the lauching speed of 250 mph, then the countdown began 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,2,1, drop(Cardenas always missed out either 3 or 2 in the count).

After dropping away from the B-29 Yeager quickly lit off all the engine chambers and climbed on out to 35000 feet and turned off 2 of the chambers, he continued climing out to 42000 feet and in level flight he re lit the 3rd chamber, at Mach 0.92 he encountered the usual buffetting, the machmeter climbed to mach 0.97 when it then fluctuated off the scale(the meter was only calibrated to mach 1.0, thats how much faith there was in the project in being able to exceed mach 1.0). Chuck Yeager said "hey Ridley, there's something wrong with this old Machmeter, its gone kinda screwy on me, its jumped on off the scale", Jack Ridley retorted "well if it is go ahead and bust it, personally I think your seeing things". That was how the USAF learned about breaking the sound barrier. The maximum speed of the flight was Mach 1.07(650 mph at 42000 feet). After gliding back to base for an unpowered landing Yeager and the rest of the team wrote up their reports and proceeded to get well drunk.

Click the image below to read the flight report for Chuck Yeager's first supersonic flight.

Click here to read the flight report for Yeager's supersonic flight

Chuck Yeager went on to fly the X-1 to 70000 feet and mach 1.45(948 mph) then went on to fly the Douglas X-3 Stilleto, Northrop X-4 Bantam(semi-tailless), Bell X-5(first variable swept wing aircraft), Convair XF-92A (first Delta winged airplane) and the Bell X-1A, which in December 1953 he took to a world speed record of mach 2.44(1650mph). He also went on to command the Aerospace Research Pilots School which produced some of the United States Astronaut's such as Tom Stafford.

Sincere Tribute

I would like to personally thank General Yeager for his huge contribution to the advancement in aviation and space technology. If it had not been for the likes of pilots like Chuck, we would not have had reusable space craft like the Space Shuttle, supersonic passenger travel in the Concorde and even the likes of supersonic fighters.

Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager is the greatest pilot that the world has ever seen and is ever likely to see. Yeager had the audacity to challenge the scientists who said the sound barrier was farm that could be bought in the sky. Major General Fred J. Ascani once said that "Science has advanced so far, that we have cloned a sheep. They will never clone a Yeager". To that Yeager replied, "hell there's a whole bunch of em there in the front row". That extract is from the "Men of Mach One Symposium", October 14, 1997.

General Yeager has been most generous of his time in signing all of the photographs, books and video's that I hold dear. For this and your inspiration, I thank you.

This page is dedicated to everyone involved in the X-1 project, living and also to those no longer with us (Jack Ridley, Albert Boyd, Dick Frost and many more) and particularly to Glennis Yeager.

If you are reading this General Yeager, you command BIG RESPECT and to quote Tom Wolfe, you are most definately made of "THE RIGHT STUFF".

I would like to hear from anyone that knows Chuck, or has any interesting stories to regail.

Search for more on Chuck Yeager with the search engine below.

If you click on the little color photograph's of the X-1 below the large photograph of Chuck, you will download an animation clip of the Bell X1. The clip is about 640KB, but is well worth the time to download and view. You will need Windows media player to view this clip and a copy of WINZIP to be able to download the file. This is due to the server not allowing access to large files.

Get A Signed Photograph from General Chuck Yeager

I have official details from General Yeager's office on how to obtain a signed photograph of this legendary pilot. To get these details, please email me and I will tell you how to go about it. Please also feel free to email me with any other queries regarding General Yeager or this website.

For the true enthusiast/collector, please click the banner below to go to the Aviation Autographs web site. The site is operated by Ed & Connie Bowlin (who used to own the P-51D currently painted as Glamorous Glen III, now owned by Gary Honbarrier). There are many unique items for sale, all of which are autographed by an aviation legend.

Aviation Autograph's. A great source of memorabilia for the true aviation enthusiast. Rare items signed by legends such as Chuck Yeager, Bud Anderson, Bob Hoover & many more. Site by Ed & Connie Bowlin.

You will find my email address at the foot of this page, also you can click on my name in any of the webring boxes to email me. Use the search engine below to find items in this website.

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Other Pages in this site

Photo page 1 Photo page 2 Yeager during WW2 Chuck Yeager photo gallery Yeager & The Bell X-1

Supersonic Flight Transcript X-1A Flights Books & Video on General Yeager available to buy Links Gen Yeager's personal appearances General Yeager's Biography Flight Simulator downloads

Breaking The Sound Barrier by NOVA X-1A Audio Clips The X-Planes & Chuck Yeager Fred J. Ascani Aerospace Walk of Honor XF-92A Model Builders information Yeager and the NF-104A

Yeager and the M2-F1

X-1 memoirs by Dr. William Pell Jackie Cochran Bob Cardenas Yeager at NASM Pancho Barnes

Essential reading on Chuck Yeager

There are many and varied titles to read regarding Chuck Yeager. I have compiled a list and preview of these books/videos on my new page Books & Video on General Yeager . If you are interested in a particular title, please use the Amazon search engine below to locate a copy. If you are UK or Europe based, please use the search box on the right for Amazon.co.uk.

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Click here to view a great animation of the Bell X1. The aircraft animation shows it yawing. Thanks for the clips Mark Click here to view another great animation of the Bell X1. This time the aircraft rolls. Thanks for the clips Mark


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This site was last updated on May 25th, 2002.

This site and its contents copyright Derek Horne 2002.

Email site owner/webmaster

Derek Horne

webmaster@mach-buster.co.uk

Acknowledgement

Other Pages in this site

Intro page Photo page 1 Photo page 2 Yeager during WW2 Chuck Yeager photo gallery The Bell X-1 Supersonic Flight Transcript X-1A Flights Books & Video Links Gen Yeager's Personal Appearances General Yeager's Biography Flight Simulation Downloads X-1A Audio Clips The X-Planes Fred J. Ascani Aerospace Walk of Honor XF-92A Model Builders information Yeager and the NF-104 Yeager and the M2-F1

Breaking The Sound Barrier by NOVA

Chuck Yeager Video, this is on Bud Anderson's website and is linked with permission.

X-1 memoirs by Dr. William Pell Bob Cardenas Jackie Cochran Yeager at NASM 2001 Pancho Barnes

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