Posted On: Wednesday - December 9th 2020 2:02PM MST
In Topics:   History  Americans
Peak Stupidity promises not to eulogize movie stars or baseball players*. We damn sure won't be doing it for any politicians, other than one, being Dr. Ron Paul, and hopefully not anytime soon for that one. Oh, that is, unless the R.I.P. stands for Rot In Place, a sentiment we reserve for people like Juan McAmnesty. We can't be doing R.I.P. posts daily, as it'll get boring.
However, Chuck Yeager was an American hero of sorts and definitely an American icon**. I do use the word hero, not a term I overuse like the soft American public does for anyone including everyone in the whole healthcare industry. (Would that include the healthcare billing people in the cubicles. Heroes? Seriously?) Many test pilots are engineer-pilots who push the well-engineering-calculated envelope of new jet liners or business jets. They are good pilots and engineers, but no heroes. A guy who volunteers to take up experimental planes past known flight regimes for his country in the Cold War race for air superiority is a hero.
Chuck Yeager is most known, or should be, for being the first man (hence, human being) to move through air faster than the speed of sound. That was in the X-1 rocket-powered "plane". That's in quotes because the power wasn't there yet to propel anyone from the ground up to speed like this (that came very quickly after though). This missile was dropped from the bomb bay of a B-29, as high as they could take him.
That was the first of many piloting accomplishments of Chuck Yeager. One could read the Tom Wolfe book or go watch the movie The Right Stuff instead to learn more***. I happened to watch the movie one day before spending most of a day at the Washington, FS Air & Space museum (before it became PC and woke like everything else). That was pretty damn cool, seeing some of the aircraft and spacecraft from the movie in real life just afterward.
There is a lot more about Chuck Yeager, his accomplishments, and the planes, on the Chuck Yeager site and in this article on the EarthSky site. Specifically regarding the F-104 Starfighter that Chuck Yeager ejected out of, and one scene in The Right Stuff was about, the reader may want to check out more on that on this site for more on that impressive but dangerous (in its ground-attack role) and controversial century-series fighter.
They don't make so many Americans like this as they used to. We've had it so good for so long and have been resting on our laurels. Holy moley, that accomplishment of breaking the sound barrier happened over 73 years ago, only 34 years after the Wright Brothers first flight of a controlled powered airplane! We have not come that far over those 73, or at least the last 49 since the end of the Apollo program.
One can't rest on his laurels but for so long. The further hard times will come. Hopefully they will bring out the few remaining Americans left with qualities like Chuck Yeager. Rest in peace.
* Yes, I'm referring to Mr. Sailer's Chuck Yeagar eulogy that turned into one for baseball player Dick Allen.**** It's his blog, and he loves that baseball and the movie business, the former of which I do appreciate at least, so I can't complain.
** He's got "Charley West" (Charleston, West Virginia) airport named after him. That's better than humble Jimmy Carter's Americus, Georgia Regional (where you can still just get out of the plane and take a leak beside the taxiway), but not as prestigious as Ronald Reagan's Washington, FS DC National, "Reagan Field".
*** This Tom Wolfe book and movie is not solely about Chuck Yeager, but it has somewhat parallel stories about his flight test crowd at Edwards Air Base in southern California and the 3 phase (Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo) astronaut program.
**** He has since added a blurb from his commenter Syonredux with Mr. Yeager's later thoughts about some low-level strafing/carpetbombing of German civilians during WWII.