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Chuck Yeager at 97: Where to? What Next?

HT: The invaluable Never Yet Melted

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  • ghostsniper February 15, 2020, 7:53 AM

    Yeager was an ace at 24, 24 yo’s today break into tears.

  • Jack February 15, 2020, 8:30 AM

    Ghost, I am pretty sure that most of today’s yoots of any age wouldn’t know Chuck Yeager from a Jagermeister or an Ace from their cellphone.

  • Chris February 15, 2020, 8:40 AM

    Off topic. The moons fire eating daughter. It was commented on here a while back. It peaked my interest so I bought it. Just opened it today. I read everything I can get my hands on,but how am I to read this one? Is it poetry to WTH over.

  • Anonymous February 15, 2020, 10:36 AM

    Pilots have large stones, but also large egos to go with. I once sat up front with the Loach pilot as we flew a low altitude desert run. Hills and gorges passed under our feet and I could hear the whole tower control conversation where they were noting the Impact Area as a No Fly Zone. The pilot just kept truckin right through the IA like nobody was talking to him.

    CY is the man. No doubt in my mind. The guy who astronauts revered. Damn.

  • Gordon Scott February 15, 2020, 8:02 PM

    Chuck Yeager put out an autobiography a while back. Tom Wolfe barely touched his story.

    When Yeager’s unit shipped over to England, they shipped washing machines. Yeager and another guy bought a crapload of hard candy and filled the tubs on the washers with it. The kids in England hadn’t seen candy for four years.

    When pilots got shot down over France and successfully evaded to Spain, they weren’t allowed to fly in Europe again, because they knew secrets about the Underground. Yeager was shot down, got to Spain, and showed up back in England tanned and with an entire stalk of bananas on his shoulder. No one had seen bananas for years. Oh, and he talked his way back onto the schedule. Very, very few managed that.

  • Georgiaboy61 February 15, 2020, 10:06 PM

    General Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager is a hero of mine, and has been for a long time – not just because of his amazing accomplishments but because of the way in which he lived his life. The guy has had enough adventures to fill ten lives, but somehow managed to cram them all into his one life. Those who haven’t picked up his autobiography, “Yeager,” coauthored with Leo Janos, are urged to do so.

    Yeager came from a rural America which very few remember first hand. In his case, they were from the hills and hollers of West Virginia, back so deep in the mountains “they had to pipe in sunlight,” as Yeager puts it. During the depths of the depression, many was the time the young Yeager hunted so the family could have something to eat that day. Lacking in formal education, Yeager coupled intense drive, curiosity and an innate understanding of mechanical things into his world-famous career as a test pilot. Yet, all these years later, Yeager believes that the height of his aviation career was to fly the P-51 Mustang in combat in WWII.

    Yeager’s adventures with his fellow test pilots, hinted at in Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff,” receieve full play in his autobiography – are worth the price of admission alone. He was fortunate, as he admits, to have been born in the “golden age” of aviation. But few wold deny that he made the very most of his opportunities…

  • Rob February 16, 2020, 4:20 AM

    As Jack Ridley would say, “Fair enough.”
    General Yeager is THE MAN.

  • Jeff Brokaw February 16, 2020, 7:56 AM

    He is indeed the Man, a true American hero, the kind that comes along every generation or two.

    As Gerogiaboy61 says above, “Yeager” is a must-read. I would assign it to every 5th grader in the United States, it’s that good and that important to understand what real bad-asses look like.

    When he and other professional daredevil test pilots were trying to break the sound barrier, they often partied like mad men at night and then woke up bleary-eyed (and probably not at 100% operational efficiency) before dawn to fly experimental aircraft to test limits mankind had never tested before. Lots of people believed breaking the sound barrier would cause the aircraft to explode or get ripped apart, a certain death sentence. They used the phrase ”augered in” to describe those who died crashing into the desert, and each one of them gladly accepted those risks to accept the challenge in front of them. They lived as “on the edge” as one can get.

    And this bad-ass is not only still alive today, he’s on Twitter.

  • Georgiaboy61 February 16, 2020, 7:34 PM

    Bell Aircraft Corporation, the designer/builder of the X-1 rocket-powered aircraft which would eventually break the sound barrier, originally had civilian test pilot Chalmers “Slick” Goodlin flying their program in an attempt to break the sound barrier. Goodlin flew the aircraft 26 times, but when things started getting interesting as the craft flew nearer to the sound barrier, he demanded an extra $150,000 in compensation plus hazard pay for every minute spent flying over mach 0.85. At that point, the Air Force took over the project. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, at an altitude of about 45,000 feet. He did it with a couple of broken ribs and on an Air Force Captain’s pay. No hazard pay, no bonus, no sweat – or as Yeager later quipped “It was a poke through Jello..”

    That, my friends, is what manhood looks like!

  • Elmo February 19, 2020, 11:58 AM

    I wonder if General Yeager is still living in his home near Grass Valley. I hope so.