Friday, October 14, 2011


October 14: 

 1947: Yeager breaks sound barrier

U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.

Yeager, born in Myra, West Virginia, in 1923, was a combat fighter during World War II and flew 64 missions over Europe. He shot down 13 German planes and was himself shot down over France, but he escaped capture with the assistance of the French Underground. After the war, he was among several volunteers chosen to test-fly the experimental X-1 rocket plane, built by the Bell Aircraft Company to explore the possibility of supersonic flight.

For years, many aviators believed that man was not meant to fly faster than the speed of sound, theorizing that transonic drag rise would tear any aircraft apart. All that changed on October 14, 1947, when Yeager flew the X-1 over Rogers Dry Lake in Southern California. The X-1 was lifted to an altitude of 25,000 feet by a B-29 aircraft and then released through the bomb bay, rocketing to 40,000 feet and exceeding 662 miles per hour (the sound barrier at that altitude). The rocket plane, nicknamed "Glamorous Glennis," was designed with thin, unswept wings and a streamlined fuselage modeled after a .50-caliber bullet.
Because of the secrecy of the project, Bell and Yeager's achievement was not announced until June 1948. Yeager continued to serve as a test pilot, and in 1953 he flew 1,650 miles per hour in an X-1A rocket plane. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1975 with the rank of brigadier general.

American Revolution
1780 : Patriots sting Loyalists at Shallow Ford, North Carolina

1857 : Elwood Haynes, "Grandsire of Gasoline Cars," is born

Civil War
1863 : Union repels Rebels at the Battle of Bristoe Station

Cold War
1962 : The Cuban Missile Crisis begins

1975 : Trial begins in Amityville murders

1913 : Coal miners die in Wales

General Interest
1066 : The Battle of Hastings
1912 : Theodore Roosevelt shot in Milwaukee
1964 : King wins Nobel Peace Prize


1994 : Pulp Fiction debuts

1822 : Victor Hugo marries Adele Foucher

1957 : "Wake Up Little Susie" becomes the Everly Brothers' first #1 hit

Old West
1939 : Ralph Lauren, designer of popular western-style clothing, is born in New York

1890 : Dwight D. Eisenhower is born

2003 : Steve Bartman catches ball

Vietnam War
1964 : Khrushchev ousted as premier of Soviet Union
1968 : U.S. servicemen sent to Vietnam for second tours

World War I
1918 : Adolf Hitler wounded in British gas attack

World War II
1944 : "The Desert Fox" commits suicide

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