X

Celebrating Chuck Yeager's 'right stuff' at 65 (pictures)

Sixty-five years ago, Capt. Charles E. Yeager made history by becoming the first pilot to fly faster than the speed of sound.

Charles_Cooper.jpg
Charles_Cooper.jpg
Charles Cooper
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper
yg7.jpg
1 of 13 U.S. Air Force
On October 14, 1947, the Bell X-1 piloted by U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. The X-1 reached a speed of 700 miles per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 13,000 meters (43,000 feet). Yeager named the airplane "Glamorous Glennis" in tribute to his wife.
X1machjump.jpg
2 of 13 NASA Photo / USAF photo by Lt. Robert A. Hoover
The history of X planes begins with the X-1. It wasn't just the first in the lineage--it was the first aircraft ever to break the sound barrier. That flight occurred on October 14, 1947, with Chuck Yeager in the cockpit. The photo here shows the Bell Aircraft X-1-1 in flight, along with a snippet of the paper tape (which tracked the flight data) showing the jump to supersonic speed at Mach 1. The achievement was classified as top secret and the Air Force would not confirm the supersonic flight until March 1948.
yg12.jpg
3 of 13 U.S. Air Force
Another view of the Bell X-1 in flight.
yg5.jpg
4 of 13 U.S. Air Force
Charles E. Yeager, shown standing next to the Air Force's Bell-built X-1 supersonic research aircraft.
yg11.jpg
5 of 13 U.S. Air Force
Capt. Charles E. Yeager (shown standing in front of the Air Force's Bell-built X-1A supersonic research aircraft.
yg13.jpg
6 of 13 U.S. Air Force
The Bell X-1A in flight.
yg9.jpg
7 of 13 U.S. Air Force
Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager transfers from a B-29 to the Bell X-1A.
yg21.jpg
8 of 13 U.S. Air Force
A Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1 series aircraft cockpit instruments display.
yg4.jpg
9 of 13 Air Force Flight Test Center History Office
Jackie Cochran and Chuck Yeager being presented with the Harmon International Trophies by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
yg20.jpg
10 of 13 U.S. Air Force
The Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1-2 with the Boeing B-29 launch ship behind.
yg10.jpg
11 of 13 U.S. Air Force
Chuck Yeager in the cockpit of an NF-104, December 4, 1963.
X-1.png
12 of 13 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

The actual X-1

This is the actual Bell X-1 that Chuck Yeager used to break the sound barrier for the first time in 1947.
Yeager.jpg
13 of 13 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
Honoring Yeager's achievement, a statue of him stands in a small park at Edwards Air Force Base. The engraving reads, "Sound Barrier Cracked. On October 14, 1947, 42,000 feet above this monument, Captain Chuck Yeager, USAF, piloting a Bell X S-1 rocket airplane named 'Glamorous Glennis,' became the first person to exceed Mach 1. With this flight, the era of supersonic aviation was born."

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos