Mach One

“There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, 750 miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it: The Sound Barrier. Then, they built a small plane, the X1, to try and break the sound barrier. And men came to the High Desert in California to ride it. They were called test pilots. And no one knew their names.”
from Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff

Today is Brigadier General Charles “Chuck” Yeager’s 91st birthday. Over a colored aviation career stretching from P51 Mustang fighter piloting through flying AND testing many of the worlds fastest aircraft through the majority of the jet age he had surely ‘seen it all’.

His warbird in the European theater was called Glamorous Glennis. After his sweetheart.

Kitted for supersonic flight in an F-100 Super Saber.

Here his sits in the nose of the bullet shaped Bell X1. Another Glamorous Glennis in which he pushed through that Demon Barrier and forged a new age of aviation onwards. Remember this is only forty five years after Wilbur and Orville took Flyer One across the dunes of Kittyhawk North Carolina.

One Comment to “Mach One”

  1. Certainly the American view – however it is most probable that the sound barrier was broken by an Arado 234 flown by Oblt. Erich Sommer. He retired in Adelaide South Australia and I helped publish a limited edition print signed by him doucumenting this event

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