Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager was born on 13 February 1923 in Myra, West Virginia.
After joining the army at age 16 and training as an aircraft mechanic, he was then selected for flight training.
His service record during WWII was impeccable, becoming an “ace-in-a-day” after shooting down five enemy aircraft in a single mission.
Yeager remained in the Air Force after the war.
He became a test pilot and was ultimately selected to fly the rocket-powered Bell X-1 in a NACA program to research high-speed flight.
On 14 October 1947 he broke the sound barrier in the technologically advanced X-1.
Yeager continued to work with experimental craft, achieving faster and faster speeds.
He piloted the X1-A, a longer and more powerful version of the X-1, to a speed of mach 2.4 on 12 December 1953.
This was almost two and a half times the speed of sound and the fastest of any human being to that date.
He died on December 7, 2020, aged 97.