Jan 2, 2003, 3:58 AM
Post #1 of 25
I've always held Chuck Yeager in high esteem (probably partly due to seeing 'The Right Stuff' at an impressionable age). I read an excellent interview with him (available here). Here is his description of his first 'skydive' :
Interviewer : "All right, lets go back to that March 5, 1944. Describe exactly what happened." Chuck Yeager : "I was in a dog-fight with three 190s and I got hit head-on with a 20 mm cannon, and the prop came off the airplane, part of the wing, the canopy, and it caught on fire. So me and the airplane parted company. That's the way it happens. You bail out, you free fall in your parachute, and then when you get down to within three or four thousand feet of the ground, you pull the ripcord, the parachute pops and you land. That's about the way it happens."
This was four years before he broke the speed of sound. We get so carried away with how 'radical' and 'extreme' we think we are today - unassuming guys like him were doing it all a long long time ago.
I met chuck yeager a few years ago. It's amazing how he views his own career. That's how he views it... a career. Someone asked him what it was like to break the sound barrier for the first time. He said his job was to break the sound barrier, and he did it, and that was it. He didn't think of it as anything very special at the time. He had broken a couple of ribs the day before so he used a broomstick to help him into the X-1 and get the door closed. Someone asked him what ever happened to that broomstick. He said he had no idea, it was just a broomstick. He said he wished he had kept it since it kind of became a legend, but at the time it was just a makeshift tool. Really nice guy. Hard to believe he just gave up flying F-15s recently.
You've never been to a performer party after an airshow??? As bad or worse than ANY skydiver party... The waterguns were supplied as an answer to the townies hitting us with nerf guns!
Actually I've met and drank with Gen. Yeager on several occasions...I get him to sign off a jump or two everytime I see him....I have both he and Scott Crossfield ( first to go mach2 ) on the same page in my log. I've been performing in U.S. airshows for just over 20 years now...gotten some remarkable signatures along the way
(This post was edited by airtwardo on Feb 4, 2003, 2:57 PM)
And to add additional info for some of you historians. This came out today on AOPA.org
Legendary test pilot Pete Knight dies at 74 May 13 — Pete Knight, a pilot with astronaut wings earned during his high-altitude flights in a North American Aviation X-15 rocket plane that reached a scorching 4,520 mph (the 1967 record still stands), died of leukemia on May 7. He was 74. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for an X-15 flight earlier in 1967 when he landed safely after suffering an electrical failure at 173,000 feet while doing Mach 4.17 that shut down all on-board systems. The Vietnam combat pilot and former Palmdale, California, mayor was a state senator at the time of his death, known for his defense of conservative values. Most recently he was fighting to restore the Pledge of Allegiance to schools. See the profile on the Web site.
'MEMPHIS BELLE' COMMANDER DIES Col. Robert Morgan, pilot of the famous Memphis Belle Boeing B-17 bomber, died last Saturday. He was 85. The aircraft was the first to complete 25 missions in Europe and return to the United States. The aircraft toured the country to sell war bonds. Morgan later flew 25 missions in a Boeing B-29 bomber over Japan. A documentary was made in 1944 about the aircraft, and it was featured in a Hollywood movie.