October 15, 1997 in Nation/World

For The Guys At Poncho’s

 

Chuck Yeager, the test pilot who first broke the sound barrier and became the epitome of the pilot with “the right stuff,” punched through again Tuesday on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Piloting an F-15 fighter, the 74-year-old Yeager sent a sonic boom thundering across the surrounding Mojave Desert shortly after 10:30 a.m. Leaving a white contrail like a chalk mark across a cloudless sky, Yeager radioed from the cockpit, “I’m smoking along at about 1.35,” meaning 1.35 times the speed of sound, or roughly 950 mph.

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