Chuck Yeager, a former U.S. Air Force officer who became the first pilot to break the speed of sound, died Monday. He was 97 years old.
In one brief explanation on twitterHis wife Victoria said he died shortly before 9 p.m.
“An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest pilot, and a legacy of strength, adventure and patriotism will be forever remembered,” she said.
On October 14, 1947, Yeager became the first test pilot to break the sound barrier when he flew the experimental Bell XS-1 (later X-1) rocket aircraft over Muroc Dry Lake, California.
NASA has said that Yeager named the plane “Glamorous Glenis” after his wife.
Yeager received both the Collier and Mackay trophies in 1948.
The pilot later commanded fighter squadrons in Germany and Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and was promoted to brigadier general in 1969. He retired on March 1, 1975.
He became known to a younger generation 36 years later when actor Sam Shepard portrayed him in the film “The Right Stuff”, which is based on the book by Tom Wolfe. The book and film focused on the daring test pilots of the early days of the space program.
Yeager himself even made a cameo as Fred, a bartender in Pancho’s palace.
He is survived by Victoria and his four children with first wife, Glennis Yeager, who died in 1990.
The Associated Press contributed.