video of chuck yeager


One of the most myth-worthy stories from Chuck Yeager’s storied career as a test pilot is his surviving the loss of control in a Lockheed NF-104 that had been specially modified to fly very high and very fast as what the Air Force saw as a low-cost trainer (yes, trainer!) for pilots who’d go on to fly the X-15. The plane featured a hydrogen peroxide rocket engine mounted in back to produce enough additional thrust to turn the NF-104 into a self-propelled rocket ship. And when it goes out of control, well, suffice it to say it’s hard, if not impossible, not to put yourself right there in the cockpit with Yeager as he battles for his life, a battle he would, of course, wind up winning. Here’s a link to the late General Yeager’s website with an excerpt from Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff that describes the accident beautifully.