February 13, 1923. Chuck Yeager, first pilot to break what used to be known as the sound barrier, was born in Myra, West Virginia, on this date in 1923. He is 95 today.
We don’t hear much about the sound barrier anymore, because today we know it isn’t a barrier. It’s a term that describes the sudden and dramatic increase in aerodynamic drag and other effects experienced by an aircraft and its pilot approaching the speed of sound. In dry air at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), the speed of sound is 741 miles per hour (1,192 km/hr).
Chuck Yeager became the first to break the sound barrier – in a Bell XS-1 aircraft he’d nicknamed Glamorous Glennis in tribute to his wife – on the morning of October 14, 1947. The plane is still on display today at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
At age 95, Yeager is still very active on Twitter and has over 85,000 followers. You’ll find him on Twitter as @GenChuckYeager.
You won't believe it. I don't believe it myself…but I turn 95 years old today. Enjoyed visiting with @oakridgeboys & my cousin Dodger great Steve Yeager. Oak @oakridgeboys sang beautifully as always & heard It Takes a Little Rain twice! Great song. Great day. #birthdaygift
— Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) February 13, 2018
You can also read in Yeager’s own words how he broke the sound barrier in this article at Popular Mechanics, which originally published it in 1987 and re-ran it in 2016, on the 40th anniversary of Yeager’s historic flight.
Yeager had enlisted in the Army Air Corps in September 1941, at the age of 18. He fought in World War II before being assigned to fly high-performance aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in 1947.
He currently lives in California.
Bottom line: On February 13, 1923, Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier, was born in Myra, West Virginia.