On Oct. 14, 1947, Captain “Chuck” Yeager, a WWII fighter pilot, became the first to break the sound barrier in a needle-nosed Bell X-1.
The four rocket motors of this tiny research craft could gulp an entire supply of fuel in two and one-half minutes. To save fuel, the Bell X-1 was carried aloft by a B-29. The craft was released over Muroc Dry Lake, Calif. Yeager leveled the craft and fired its rockets.
Before Yeager’s accomplishment, many agreed the sound barrier was an impenetrable obstacle to faster flight. However, with the world’s first supersonic flight, Yeager proved that speeds faster than sound was attainable.
During World War II, Yeager became an ace flying the P-51 Mustang.