Chuck Yeager


Chuck Yeager : biography

13 February 1923 –

Yeager went on to break many other speed and altitude records. With the success of Operation Moolah, he was also one of the first American pilots to fly a MiG-15, after its pilot defected to South Korea.Clark 1954, p. 208.Kum-Suk and Osterholm 2007, p. 158. Returning to Muroc, during the latter half of 1953, Yeager was involved with the USAF team that was working on the X-1A, an aircraft designed to surpass Mach 2 in level flight. That year, he flew a chase aircraft for the civilian pilot Jackie Cochran, a close friend, as she became the first woman to fly faster than sound.

On November 20, 1953, the U.S. Navy program involving the D-558-II Skyrocket and its pilot, Scott Crossfield, became the first team to reach twice the speed of sound. After they were bested, Ridley and Yeager decided to beat rival Crossfield’s speed record in a series of test flights that they dubbed "Operation NACA Weep." Not only did they beat Crossfield, but they did it in time to spoil a celebration planned for the 50th anniversary of flight in which Crossfield was to be called "the fastest man alive."

The Ridley/Yeager USAF team achieved Mach 2.44 on December 12, 1953. Shortly after reaching Mach 2.44, Yeager experienced a loss of aerodynamic control of the X-1A due to inertial coupling at approximately . With the aircraft simultaneously rolling, pitching, and yawing out of the sky, Yeager dropped in 51 seconds before regaining control of the aircraft at approximately . He was able to land the aircraft without further incident.

Yeager was foremost a fighter pilot and held several squadron and wing commands. From May 1955 to July 1957 he commanded the F-86H Sabre-equipped 417th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (50th Fighter-Bomber Wing) at Hahn AB, Germany, and Toul-Rosieres Air Base, France; and from 1957 to 1960 the F-100D Super Sabre-equipped 1st Fighter Day Squadron (later, while still under Yeager’s command, re-designated the 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron) at George Air Force Base, California, and Morón Air Base, Spain.

In 1962, after completion of a year’s studies at the Air War College, Yeager became the first commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, which produced astronauts for NASA and the USAF, after its redesignation from the USAF Flight Test Pilot School. Between December 1963 and January 1964,, December 10, 1963. Yeager completed five flights in the NASA M2-F1 lifting body. An accident during a test flight in one of the school’s NF-104s put an end to his record attempts.

In 1966, Yeager took command of the 405th Tactical Fighter Wing at Clark Air Base, the Philippines, whose squadrons were deployed on rotational temporary duty (TDY) in South Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. There he accrued another 414 hours of combat time in 127 missions, mostly in a Martin B-57 Canberra light bomber. In February 1968, Yeager was assigned command of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, and led the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II wing in South Korea during the Pueblo crisis.

On June 22, 1969, Yeager was promoted to brigadier general, and was assigned in July as the vice-commander of the Seventeenth Air Force.

From 1971 to 1973, at the behest of Ambassador Joe Farland, Yeager was assigned to Pakistan to advise the Pakistan Air Force.Yeager and Janos 1985, p. 391. During the Indo-Pakistan War, Yeager reputedly provided an assessment that the Pakistani Army would be in New Delhi within a week.Ingraham, Edward C. Washington Monthly, October 1985. During the combat, Yeager’s twin-engined Beechcraft liaison aircraft was destroyed in an Indian air raid on the Chaklala Airbase by then Lieutenant and later India’s Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash. Yeager was reportedly incensed and demanded U.S. retaliation.Prakash, Admiral Arun. Retrieved: December 8, 2010.

Honors and awards

U.S. Air Force Command Pilot Badge