BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Seventy-four years ago, a native West Virginian climbed into the cockpit of a rocket-powered aircraft and proved that he had “the right stuff” by becoming the first pilot to blast past the sound barrier.
On Oct. 14, 1947, 24-year-old Capt. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, World War II fighter ace turned test pilot, took the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane dubbed “Glamorous Glennis” past 660 mph to break the sound barrier for the first time.
In 1968, Yeager said that he had been apprehensive about the historic flight.
“When you’re fooling around with something you don’t know much about, there has to be apprehension,” he said then. “But you don’t let that affect your job.”
After breaking the sound barrier in 1947, the modest Yeager stated that he could have gone even faster if the plane had carried more fuel, adding that the ride “was nice, just like riding fast in a car.”
Yeager nicknamed the rocket plane, and all his other aircraft, “Glamorous Glennis” for his first wife, who died in 1990…