YEAGER’S LAST MILITARY FLIGHT: Chuck Yeager made his last flight on Saturday as the pilot of a military fighter this past weekend, going supersonic in an Air Force F-15. The flight brings the 79 year old Yeager’s 60-year career flying military aircraft to a close in front of thousands of fans at the open house and air show at Edwards Air Force Base, where his legendary status as a test pilot was born:
Yeager, with Edwards test pilot Lt. Col. Troy Fontaine in the back seat, opened the event by climbing to just over 30,000 feet and impressed the crowd with his infamous sonic boom. Yeager first broke the sound barrier at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in October 1947 when he accelerated his rocket-powered Bell X-1 to the speed of Mach 1.06 and shattered the myth of the sound barrier forever.
The crowd hushed as Yeager landed and taxied under an archway of water gushing from two Edwards fire trucks per Air Force tradition. For his final military flight, Yeager was accompanied in the air with longtime friend and colleague retired Maj. Gen. Joe Engle flying his own F-15. The two legendary test pilots have been flying together for decades.
“This is a fun day for us because we get to fly good airplanes and do something we’ve loved to do for some time,” Yeager said.
The general announced earlier this year that 60 years of military flying is long enough.
“Now is a good time,” said Yeager. “I’ve had a heck of good time and very few people get exposed to the things I’ve been exposed to. I’ll keep on flying P-51s and light stuff, but I just feel it’s time to quit.”
The actual article contains larger versions of the above photo. See if the name painted on the nose of Yeager’s F-15 rings a bell.
(Thanks to Orrin Judd for sending us the link to the above article.)