General Chuck Yeager | The Official Website

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This Day in Aviation History

April 20, 1935

The first passengers leave for Australia on a new Imperial Airways/QANTAS service; the first Australian departures were made from Brisbane on April 17.

The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited, or QANTAS, was established in November 1920.  QANTAS Limited collaborated with British Airways’ predecessor Imperial Airways to establish an Australia-London run. In 1937 the two airlines formed Qantas Empire Airways. QANTAS Limited continued to fly up until October 1947, when a sudden decision was made to liquidate the company.

Bob Crowley, an accomplished journalist wrote this a few years back for the WBAP-AM website, has re-written it, and sent it to General Yeager in honor of his 89th birthday. The website team thinks this is very apt and is posting it in honor of General Chuck Yeager

“General Yeager is a personal hero of mine. Let me tell you why.

Many died trying to fly MACH 1.  However, General Yeager became the first man to fly MACH 1, the speed of sound, and beyond. He and Jack Ridley understood the asymmetrical force the supersonic shock wave placed on the stabilizer, and solved the problem.

But that’s not why he’s my hero.

During World War Two, Chuck Yeager was a P-51 fighter pilot. He was shot down over France. He evaded capture, linked up with the Maquis, and escaped to Spain. He could have gone home, but argued, all the way up to General Eisenhower, to be sent back into combat. He did go back, and one day he was credited with downing 5 German planes on one mission… an “Ace In A Day”.

But that’s not why he is my hero.

After solving the problem of supersonic flight, Chuck Yeager led the first aero-space school for pilots. He also participated in accident investigations. He flew with Jackie Cochran to the Soviet Union. He advised the Pakistani Air Force. He was the first American to fly a Soviet Mig-15.

But those are not the reasons he is my hero.

Here is why. He could have retired to the private sector in the 1950’s, but didn’t. Instead he was sent to Europe, and assigned to a squadron that would have made a one-way flight with nuclear bombs if war had broken out. Again, in the 1960’s, when he could have retired and spent his time doing endorsements, serving on corporate boards and having a comfortable life, he didn’t. He went to Southeast Asia during the Viet Nam war to lead a group of attack-bombers. He flew more than 100 missions personally.

Instead of choosing wealth and comfort, he chose to serve his country.

That’s what makes him my hero.”

Recent Articles about General Chuck Yeager

Appeal-Democrat, January, 2014

Duty led to history: Catching up with Chuck Yeager
Gen. Chuck Yeager was interviewed by David Bitton of Appealdemocrat.com.  Gen. Yeager emphasized that Duty comes first and that doing his Duty was first and foremost in leading to his successes.  The Appeal-Democrat reached out to the Living Legend to get his thoughts on nearby Beale Air Force Base, to help reacquaint the public with an important part of military history, and to share his incites to the modern “Global Hawk Era”.  Read more.

Huntington Quarterly, May, 2012

Gen. Chuck Yeager was interviewed by Jack Houvouras to mark the 65th anniversary of his breaking the sound barrier.  Gen. Yeager shared his thoughts on making history, modern aviation, his scholarship program at Marshall University, and the challenge of slowing down for a man who has lived life at full throttle.  Having just turned 89, Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager shows few signs of slowing down, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know the aviation icon was once known as the fastest man alive. Read more.

The Namibian, November 11, 2011, by Jana-Mari Smith

The NamibianYeager wows Namibians
The legendary test pilot, who has clocked more than 19 000 flying hours during his illustrious career, demonstrates that he is still young at heart, battle ready and as passionate about flying and life as ever. Read more.

African Outfitter, March 2011, by Joe da Silva

On SafariOn Safari with Brigadier General Chuck Yeager
When the Cape red hartebeest dropped in an instant after a perfect heart shot I knew I was in special company.  My client was none other than the world-renowned American aviation legend, Brigadier General Chuck Yeager…the General and his lovely wife, Victoria, both hunted with me in the Western Cape, South Africa, during October 2010.  A formidable fighter and test pilot whose combat credentials include World War II and Vietnam, General Yeager is a deadly shot, as is his wife. Read more.

Radio Parallax Interview, by Dr. Doug Desalles

Radio ParallaxIn the first segment, Gen. Yeager tells about his World War II experiences as a fighter pilot.  He describes being shot down over Bordeaux France, his escape from German patrols, fighting with the French Maquis resistance, and evasion to Spain.  He tells about his repatriation and return to combat flying.  The first segment ends with a description of his enduring friendships with Gen. Eisenhower and with Jackie Cochran, who headed the Wasps from 1942-1944.  In the second segment, Gen. Yeager tells about his opportunity to pilot the X-1 Rocket Research plane and become the first human to break the sound barrier, and more about his friendships with Jackie Cochran, plus Howard Hughes and Poncho Barnes.  Hear him tell about the Air Force Astronaut School and his training of the first U. S. Astronauts. Listen to the interview.