In the Cockpit with Chuck Yeager
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In the Cockpit with Chuck Yeager is the first volume in Passion for Flight, a series of short biographies (20,000 words or less) regarding notable pilots who inspire young and old alike to take to the skies.
Brig. Gen. Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager was the first person to break the sound barrier, on Oct. 14, 1947. After being shot down during World War II and evading capture, he successfully fought a rule that banned shot-down pilots from re-entering combat and eventually became a double ace. In 65 years in military cockpits, he flew at least 340 different makes and models of military airplanes, including the Air Force’s entire inventory during World War II, as well as aircraft from Germany, France, England, Japan, Sweden and Russia.
In 1994, Yeager replaced actor Cliff Robertson as the chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program. Under his leadership, the organization accomplished the successful mission of getting one million youth to fly at the controls by Dec. 17, 2003, the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight. Yeager himself has personally flown more than 500 Young Eagles, and the foundation has given more than $50,000 for the Young Eagles General Chuck Yeager Scholarship Endowment Program. After accomplishing his mission, Yeager turned over the reins to Harrison Ford, in 2004.
Gen. Yeager and his wife Victoria incorporated the General Chuck Yeager Foundation in 2002. The foundation supports programs that teach “honor, integrity, courage and excellence in our daily conduct, a strong sense of public service and duty to our country, and an intellectual curiosity.”
Di Freeze interviewed Chuck Yeager for this short biography, and filled in facts with his autobiography, Yeager. Gen. Yeager reviewed and approved this approximately 11,000-word bio for accuracy. It contains vintage and present day photos. This is not meant to be a comprehensive history of Chuck Yeager's life, but it contains the major milestones in his aviation history.