* 13. 2. 1923

† 8. 12. 2020

The breakage of sound barrier is one of the prominent milestones in aviation development. The “invisible devil” preventing

the aircraft from reaching higher speeds, was a challenge for

both engineers and pilots. Charles “Chuck” Yeager is famous

to the world as the first supersonic man, but there is much

more behind his lifework.

On October 14, 1947 Chuck Yeager officially became the fastest man on the planet. Flying

the experimental Bell X-1 he reached speed of Mach 1,06 and started the supersonic era in

aviation. The nose of the bullet-like aircraft bore the Glamorous Glennis inscription as a tribute

to his beloved wife. Similarly named were all his wartime P-51s as well.

He met his long-life love when as a young pilot moved together with his squadron to the new

base in Oroville, CA. Chuck was tasked with organizing a dancing evening for the pilots and

so he attended local USO office for some help. And there they met. „She was pretty as movie

star and was also making more money than I was,“ recalled Chuck later. During the event they

organised together Chuck also danced with her and, as i turned out, the liking was mutual.

„I barely understood every third word he spoke, but I sensed that he was a very strong and

determined person. The kind of man that I hoped to marry one day.” They married shortly

after Chuck had returned from Europe at the start of 1945 and the couple stayed together for

45 years until Glennis died due to the cancer.

photo: USAF

Author: Richard Plos

From sickness to mastery

It is quite interesting the man, who became one of the most famous pilots in the world with

more than 10,000 flying hours logged had a nausea problem at the start of his career.

He learned it while serving as crew chief of an AT-11. Yeager took the backseat as the pilot

practiced landings, and shortly discovered the misery of motion sickness. He was young aircraft

mechanic but looked for something more enjoyable and thanks to the Flying Sergeant programme he got the chance, as the age limit was lowered from 20 to 18 years for pilot training

application. He was still sick during first flights but overcome that weakness thanks to excellent

physical shape and received the pilot badge in March, 1943. During advanced and combat

training he flew the P-39 Airacobra with 363rd Fighter Squadron of 357th Fighter Group

and apart of many struggling young pilots mastered the tricky aircraft. „He was the best of us

and became an benchmark for any newbie in the squadron,“ recalled one of colleagues later.

photo: USAF

The ace in one day

Charles Yeager with Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis, the first aircraft breaking

sound barrier in horizontal manned flight.

14 eduard

The 357th Fighting Group moved to England just before Christmas 1943 aboard Queen

Elisabeth ship to become part of 8th Air Force. Receiving P-51 Mustang, Yeager did not hesitate to put the Glamorous Glen on its nose as the tribute to his than fiancée. He started combat

flying in February, 1944 and achieved first victory on March 4 during the Berlin bombing ride

escort. His eighth mission was to be his last for a long time, as he was shot down during combat

with three Fw 190s. Yeager bailed out and hid himself in woods to avoid being captured.

A French woodcutter found him and helped him to contact the French resistance movement.

With their help Yeager reached Spanish borders on March 30 with two fellow American aviators, although they were chased by German soldiers searching for them on ground and from

air using Fi 156 Storch. It was not first time for Yeager to use parachute. During the training

flight his P-39 caught fire and he had to bail out, suffering a back injury, which kept him in

hospital for some time. Once back in England Yeager tried hard to overcome the rule, which

prevented any shot down returnee to fly over the enemy territory again. There was a danger one could reveal information of the French resistance if shot down again. Finally, Yeager

succeeded thanks to understanding of General Eisenhower. Chuck repaid the mighty Allied

Forces commander his faith abundantly. He got P-51C which he named Glamorous Glen II, but

soon received new P-51D Glamorous Glen III. He scored five kills in one day on October 12,

1944 (all victims were Bf 109) and became an ace in one day hero. He nearly repeated the

achievement on November 27, shooting down four Fw 109s. But prior to that, he encountered

Me 262 during the escort of B-24. German jets of Komando Nowotny unit stroke at Mustangs

of 357th FS after they had leaved the bombers in safe zone. One of the Me 262s fired at

Yeager but missed and Chuck was given a chance to bounce back after evasive manoeuvre

in steep climb. He hit the jet several times, but it escaped in clouds. Yeager found himself separated from the group, so headed back and spotted the Me 262 approaching the air base

at Achmer. He charged at the German and shot him down despite fierce flak defensive firing.

INFO Eduard - January 2021