October 28, 2002
HEY, RIDLEY:Yeager makes last military flight during air show (Leigh Anne Bierstine, 10/28/02, Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs)
Aviation legend and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager gave the F-15 Eagle one last ride Oct. 26, bringing his 60-year career flying military aircraft to a close in front of thousands of fans at the open house and air show here.
Yeager, with Edwards test pilot Lt. Col. Troy Fontaine in the back seat, opened the event by climbing to just over 30,000 feet and impressed the crowd with his infamous sonic boom. Yeager first broke the sound barrier at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in October 1947 when he accelerated his rocket-powered Bell X-1 to the speed of Mach 1.06 and shattered the myth of the sound barrier forever.
The crowd hushed as Yeager landed and taxied under an archway of water gushing from two Edwards fire trucks per Air Force tradition. For his final military flight, Yeager was accompanied in the air with longtime friend and colleague retired Maj. Gen. Joe Engle flying his own F-15. The two legendary test pilots have been flying together for decades. [...]
When asked about his favorite aircraft, Yeager said it depends on what a pilot needs the aircraft to do.
"I want the one that kills the best with the least amount of risk to me," said Yeager. "That's the facts of life and that's why you wear the uniform."
The eagle has landed. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 28, 2002 10:23 PM