Skip to comments.Chuck Yeager Broke Sound Barrier 60 Years Ago - VOA Story
Posted on 10/15/2011 8:47:55 AM PDT by Daffynition
American test pilot Chuck Yeager flew a plane through the sound barrier on October 14th, 1947. Some say only the Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur can claim a more significant achievement in the history of flight. At the time, Britain and Germany also were trying to develop a plane that could break the sound barrier, but the United States soon won out with its X-1. It was more rocket than plane, developed specifically to fly through the shock waves of the sound barrier, with Yeager as pilot. About half of the engineers gave us no chance at all of ever successfully flying beyond the speed of sound. They said its a so-called barrier and the airplane would go out of control or disintegrate, but I didnt look at it that way. Yeager said he had confidence in the craft. He named it Glamorous Glennis for his wife, and described its bullet-shaped body as cozy. ....
(Excerpt) Read more at youtube.com ...
Makes me want to go watch the first half of “The Right Stuff”...again...for the umteenth time!
Atta boy, Chuck!
Ya got some Beeman’s?
Yeager was portrayed in The Right Stuff by Sam Shepard. To me it was a great performance and a fantastic movie.
“Well, can ya loan me a stick?”
I love that movie.
My, he’s still handsome pup. Back when men weren’t afraid to be men.
He broke the sound barrier with a broken arm. He had to use a cut down broomstick handle to lock the hatch.
60 yrs ago or 64 years ago /
It’s the *twinkle* in the eye that gets ya. ;)
Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947 in the X-1.
No, big difference. Chuck Yeager piloted the first supersonic flight. A lot of engineers developed the aircraft that was capable of making the first supersonic flight. It was a huge team effort of which Yeager was the visible icon. But it could have been anyone else, including the Bell test pilot who went on strike for more money and didn't get to make the first flight.
The Wright Brothers did it all - research, developmenmt, test flights, manufacturing and design, pilot training, and then finally they flew it themselves. In 1903 there were only two pilots in the entire world. And only two airplane designers. All named Wright.
Awesomeness. First officially recorded breaking of the sound barrier in level flight, although others claim, and it is plausible, that they did so briefly in other aircraft while in a powered dive, before Yeager did the level flight one in the X1.
That's not exactly true... there were other people working on it. In fact, an unmanned, steam-powered heavier-than-air craft designed by John Stringfellow had got off the ground as early as 1848. Victor Tatin in France used a compressed-air engine to get his flying machine off the ground in 1874. A guy named Langley was working on a similar project at the very same time as the Wrights.
Even Hiram Maxim (of machine gun fame) built a steam-powered manned aircraft that had picked itself up and flew in 1894: "The American inventor of the machine gun built a very large 3.5 ton flying machine that ran on a track and was propelled by powerful twin naphtha fuelled steam engines. He made several tests in the huge biplane that were well recorded and reported. On July 31, 1894 he made a record breaking speed run at 42 miles per hour (68 km/h). The machine lifted from the 1,800-foot (550 m) track and broke a restraining rail, crashing after a short uncontrolled flight just above the ground."
Which, actually, is to take nothing away from the Wright Brothers. They did something that nobody else up until that time had done, which was to research, design, and build a practical heavier-than-air craft that could be flown in a controlled manner and safely landed. Unlike other inventors of their time and earlier, they didn't focus on power plants or just the macro-scale features of the structure; they did their homework on airfoil design and control surfaces. It was ground-breaking work, and it paid off.
So in a manner of speaking, they didn't really invent the airplane... they just made it practical.
The only place I know where you can still buy it.....Weston, VT.
Thanks Daffynition, and a happy belated anniversary of the event goes out to General Yeager. I heartily recommend his autobiography, and not least for its “other voices” chapters, which were contributed by other people.
An “extra, extra” ping to the APoD members.
Yep....great movie. Yeager is a hero to my grown son. Read about Yeager while in grade school and made Yeager his hero.
One of my childhood heroes!
My sister was part of Public Relations at Edwards back when he visited the place in later years. She handled all kinds of requests, including requests for his autographed picture. He was long gone when the requests came in, so she signed his name and sent them off.
Days later she realized she had spelled his last name “Yaeger”. Nobody ever complained.
They even used a wind tunnel. The think the key word for Wrights is they had the first controlled flight.
actually, click the image in my post above and you can order it online.
Actually there were several other pilots(or would be pilots)but only the wright bros got off the ground:). Yep, I would say there's was a far greater achievement than Chuck's. Although Chuck was a great pilot, he would never have broken the sound barrier had it not been for Orville an Wilbur. A pilot I think came closest to their achievement was Charles Lindbergh, he helped build his plane and played a large part in the design of it, not to mention flying across the Atlantic with only a compass and dead reckoning to guide him. Still, without the pioneer work of the Wright Bros, he would never have known how to design a plane let alone fly one.
Did the Wright brothers utilize any of the aerodynamic discoveries of Otto Lilienthal, the German glider designer and pilot?
I really appreciate your ping to this “blast” from the past!
(Someone said that already, surely.)
We associate the Swiss with high-quality goods and if you haven’t had the chance, view the video of Rossy’S flight over the GC....exquisitely done.
If we ever see a Chuck Yeager autograph appear on the pawn-show, and they discover it is spelled wrong...we'll know why! LOL
Otto Lilienthal,18481896 The most influential glider pioneer was Otto Lilienthal, a German engineer who began his aeronautical research in 1871 by studying bird flight. After nearly two decades of imaginative experimentation and research, he produced the best and most complete body of aerodynamic data up to that time. He published his results in Der Vogelflug als Grundlage der Fliegekunst (Birdflight as the Basis of Aviation) in 1889.
Following his program of data collection, Lilienthal constructed and tested a series of elegant, full-size gliders. Between 1891 and 1896 he made nearly 2,000 brief flights in 16 different glider designs based on his aerodynamic research.
An abrupt and tragic end
On August 9, 1896, while flying one of his monoplane gliders, Lilienthal stalled and crashed. He died from his injuries the following day. The Wright brothers later cited his death as the point when their serious interest in flight research began.
The drawbacks of Lilienthal's method of control Otto Lilienthal controlled his glider by shifting his body weight from side to side, which altered the crafts center of gravity and caused it to turn. The Wrights recognized that this technique severely limited the size of the aircraft, because the pilot and craft had to be similar in weight for body shifting to be effective. They reasoned that if they could control balance aerodynamicallyusing the forces air exerts on a wingthey could build an aircraft of any size and weight.
It’s been on cable the past couple of weeks and I’ve seen it three times now. What a great, quiet movie.
Easy for me, day after I was born!
You are correct, sir. Ribs it was. I don’t know why my fingers types “arm.”
They started out using them but found out they were flawed. The Wright brothers built their own(and the absolute first ever)wind tunnel in order to get the correct math for the wing. Until they built the wind tunnel they relied on faulty math from Lilienthal and others and their machines had poor lifting ability. After the wind tunnel they wre able to make a better wing and get their powered machine off the ground. The wrights were truly pioneers in the aviation field and others, such as Curtis, soon built on their work. They were also the first to use ailerons in the form of wing warping in order to turn correctly in the air. Other early pilots and builders used only rudders, but after seeing a Wright flyer in action they soon Made their own versions, violating the Wrights patents(Curtis was among them)which they spent years in court trying to get justice for.
I will always remember Yeager’s response when, at the time, he was asked for a comment about the Challenger Shuttle disaster. He responded by saying something like “Well, all I can tell you is that people get killed in the flying business.” He has probably seen lots of people come and lots of people go in the flying business.
Wonder if fate had brought c15Century da Vinci with the 19thcentury Wrights....what they would have come up with?
Yes, in a sort of way. The assessed the literature on airfoils, including Lilienthal's tables of lift vs. drag for a few wing shapes.
Being cautious, the Wrights tried to replicate the findings in their own wind tunnel and found them completely at variance with the published tables. They went with their own data.
I remember it well. I was 7 mo. old.