Gen. Chuck Yeager, an Air Force test pilot who became the first human to break the sound barrier, died Monday at the age of 97. His death was announced in a message on his official Twitter account attributed to Yeager’s wife, Victoria Yeager.
“It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9 pm ET,” she tweeted. “An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.”
Capt. Yeager made aviation history at the age 24 when he became the first human to break the speed of sound in 1947. Yeager, whose exploits were chronicled in the book (and film) The Right Stuff, gained worldwide notoriety when the Bell X-1 he was piloting reached a speed of 700 miles per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet on Oct. 14, 1947. With his flight, the era of supersonic aviation was born.