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RIP (Really!) Chuck Yeager

Discussion in 'Gator Lounge & General Discussion' started by DRU2012, Dec 8, 2020.

  1. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Just wanted to note the passing today (December 7, 2020–already “a date that will live in infamy...”) of one of MY heroes, “right stuff” test-pilot who broke the “sound barrier” in the Bell X-1.
    One more loss in what has been a memorably NASTY year already.
    But he had a long and meaningful life. Met him once (my dad moved in such circles). Sorry, I know this isn’t the place for such things—but in this case, would be remiss if I DIDN’T at least “note in passing”.
    Chuck Yeager:
    A “pilot’s pilot”, and a “man’s man”.
     
  2. Escambia94

    Escambia94 Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE) Moderator

    Aim High! Fly-Fight-Win!

    Brigadier General Charles "Chuck" Yeager (1923-02-13 - 2020-12-07) was an ace and a record-setting test pilot. He was the first human to break the sound barrier, (X-1 Glamorous Glennis, 1947-10-14) for which he earned the coveted Collier and Mackay trophies. Years later he commanded the 417th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, the 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School (now the USAF Test Pilot School), the 405th Tactical Fighter Wing, and 17th Air Force. He broke the sound batter again at age 74 in an F-15D, Glamorous Glennis III, which was supposed to be his final flight, but the USAF called him back into service on a couple occasions between 2000 and 2012. His final flight was at age 89 on 2012-10-14, the 65th anniversary of his original feat.

    Chuck Yeager is one of the last general officers to achieve the rank of Brigadier General without a college degree. Glamorous Glennis was named after his wife, the former Glennis Dickhouse, whom he had married two years before breaking the sound barrier.

     
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  3. Leakfan12

    Leakfan12 VIP Member

    I think, without him, there would be no NASA.
     
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  4. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Right ON.
    Thankyou, E—.
     
  5. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Certainly his contemporaries who WERE named to the first “Mercury Seven”, our opening group of “ASTRONAUTS”, felt that way—and that in that particular case, the “college degree” requirement was ludicrous—pure “PR”-thinking ONLY. My dad was pretty tight with Gordo Cooper, and he always said the rest of them all looked up to Yeager in “the good/bad Ol’ days” when they were all out “pushin’ the edge of the envelope” up in the high desert of 1950s California!
     
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  6. Escambia94

    Escambia94 Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE) Moderator

    False. He was not qualified for NASA duty because he did not have a college degree in the sciences. NASA has always required bachelor of science degrees. He was one of the instructors at what is now the USAF Test Pilot School, which is one of the ways to qualify for NASA pilot duty, but he was not one of the founding members nor was he ever assigned to NASA. As a fellow prior-enlisted officer, it is a source of contention among the USAF officer ranks that one of our greatest pilots was shunned because of a lack of a college degree. He had some fine command tours, but not with the big MiG-killer fighter wings such as the 8th, 12th, 33rd, and 51st (Tactical) Fighter Wings.
     
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  7. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Thankyou for starkly clarifying the “Airforce (UNofficial) Pilot/Officers’ P.O.V.”, @Escambia94,
    ...Won’t go too far down this tangent here, but all this was part of a Service-WIDE issue in a time of rapid and drastic change. My dad (a retired AF Flag-officer himself) always stressed that from the moment they split off from being “just” The Army Air Corps (post WW II), science and engineering were stressed as central to their future—which was itself implicitly part of their aim to ultimately be not just “The Air Force” but “THE AEROSPACE FORCE”!!!
    The “writing was on the wall”, so to speak:
    This is where the aforementioned dichotomy (and sometimes, foolish injustices, as here) arose.
    We can debate the rightness or fairness of it all, but it was a different time—and that was far from the ONLY example of inequities and/or inconsistencies that produced shameful obstacles and rampant historic hypocrisy.
    As we all know and can see for ourselves even now, many of these same flaws and inconsistencies are still being addressed. The good news at least is that they ARE “being addressed”—if somewhat belatedly.
    Just wanted to acknowledge that here;
    Beyond that, I bow to your ONGOING knowledge and experience in these matters, E—. If you feel I have over-simplified or missed important points here, I apologize—and welcome clarification.
    (Addendum:
    It is worth noting, however, that though arguably it made little practical difference at the time, for possession of the “necessary skills” OR performing in the moment on the task at hand, by now (as was indeed foreseen) such knowledge and background (in science and engineering) is an absolute prerequisite!)
     
  8. Leakfan12

    Leakfan12 VIP Member

    Really? Your dad knew Cooper? COOL! I was watching that series the Right Stuff (on Disney plus). Haven't seen the movie yet.
     
  9. Leakfan12

    Leakfan12 VIP Member

    I didn't say he was in NASA. Would have been a NASA if he didn't break the sound barrier? OK probably because we wanted to beat the Russians.
     
  10. Escambia94

    Escambia94 Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE) Moderator

    Yes. The predecessor to NASA was NACA, established in 1915. Lieutenant Colonel Clarence Manning was next in the pipeline for in the XS-1, later X-1 program. I do not mean to come across as rude, but to us Airmen it is highly important to understand the history and to understand that sometimes the #2 guy is just as important as the #1 guy. If Yeager had failed to break the sound barrier on that day, it would have been Manning's job to break it within a few days of that. Yeager is important in history because he did his job, and if he had failed we would be celebrating Manning's story instead. All of us Airmen understand this. No disrespect intended, but this is how we are wired and it is important for me to only share accurate histories. Yeager accomplished a lot in his career and there is no need to exaggerate his greatness. He was a humble man who would have wanted to be remembered for his humility and sense of duty.
     
  11. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    ...AND, yes, he HAD “the right stuff”, had it IN SPADES—as is aptly portrayed not only in the movie “The Right Stuff” but in a myriad of LITTLE ways every day in ADDITION to for eg the ones shown there (the sawn-off “broom stick” for the X-1 flight, the “cracked visor incident” on the later speed-record flight, and so on) and a host of others laughingly but head-shakingly recounted years later by those guys).
    But all of them had it, to varying degrees called upon in various ways over time.
    Their guts and skill is all too often forgotten and/or overlooked in the dry recounting of history AND in the way it is sometimes “played for laughs or drama” in the movies—either way, amazing moments get lost somehow in the retelling: For example, most of us watched it live or at least saw the TV footage and coverage of the moon landing growing up, watched Neil Armstrong emerge from the Eagle, step off the lander and make his famous pronouncement—but not so many know of or appreciate the amazingly calm and precise display of skilled and self-composed PILOTING he pulled off with the last few ounces of fuel on board when unexpectedly confronted with rough and rocky ground as they covered the last few seconds of flight and plunged the last few meters to the ground that was supposed to have been “clear and flat” at their targeted landing site.
    AND his voice never wavers as he calmly reports those final seconds of flight time for Houston—and The World!
    THAT’S “The Right Stuff”, too.
     
  12. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    (PS @Leakfan12, :
    You will really enjoy the movie, The Right Stuff—I have been meaning to begin streaming this latest expanded, more detailed production...
    Thanks for reminding me; I’ve been distracted by other things of late, but I will DEFINITELY get to it—Disney Plus ALSO has The Mandalorian and some other things I’m interested in checking out, so I will add it soon (it’s just that I have become more careful about adding these newer services so quickly: I’ve already collected a bunch I hardly use—and they are adding up to “real money”...I don’t mind this so much generally, stuck at home more as we all are, but at a certain point, it’s time to “clean a little house” and maybe “pare down” some of the hardly-if-ever-watched stuff, I guess.
    So yes: especially with college football on the verge of being resolved and the season winding down I will turn to “tightening that all up”!).
    As for The Right Stuff, we all caught a break when Tom Wolff fastened onto that scene and subject. Otherwise all we might have had of all that was the white-washed, one-dimensional, post-fifties Cold War PR-copy that made plastic cut-out Roger Ram Jet HEROES of these guys—where the actual STORY was and IS so much more important, fun and INTERESTING.)
     
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  13. Leakfan12

    Leakfan12 VIP Member

    Check out the series and compare it to the movie. I saw the series and liked it.
     
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  14. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Thanks—will do.
     

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