Chuck Yeager



American legend Chuck Yeager has died slightly surprisingly 2 and a bit years before his century. Yeager was a WW2 air force pilot who was shot down in 1944 over France, but was allowed to return to active service after out arguing future President General Eisenhower. If ever a story summed up a DDP candidate. After the war, in which he didn’t get on with his own men, the British, or the Germans, Chuck Yeager became a test pilot and was chosen to try and break the sound barrier after their first choice, presumably a Dr Evil, demanded a million dollars.

Despite breaking three ribs falling off a horse the day before the attempt, and thus being technically unable to fly (he didn’t tell anyone till later), Yeager flew faster than the speed of sound on the 14 October 1947, earning a spot forever in the history books. In the 1960s (after surviving another nearly fatal crash), the new Colonel Yeager became the first boss of the US Aerospace Pilot School, where he was a trainer for Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. On their only mission together, Armstrong and Yeager’s plane landed badly and needed rescuing, Armstrong later recounting that Yeager laughed himself hoarse like a brush with death was passe for him. After another near miss, he retir…nah, he took command of an air base during the Vietnam War, and later helped train the Pakistan Air Force. During this time, yes, he was involved in another near fatal plane crash when his plane got taken out by border skirmishes.

In “retirement”, he appeared on TV shows, became an Ambassador for the Chevrolet Corvette, and was part of the Rogers Commission that looked into the Challenger explosion. For decades after, he remained grumpy that Richard Feynman got the praise for showing what happened when Yeager thought any sensible airman would know, thus proving and missing the point of Challenger in the same instance. He won every honor available, there isn’t an aerospace award that doesn’t have Chuck Yeager as a winner. Gerald Ford gave him the Medal of Honor for risking his life in the pursuit of achievement, to which Yeager may have said “which time?” Somewhat surprisingly Yeager has died aged 97 and 10 months, only because on his previous you’d expect him to kick the shit out of the Reaper instead. And grump about it online.

Yeager later became known as having one of the grumpiest twitter accounts known to man. (Or funniest, tbh.) But I think we can forgive a man who was once shot down by Nazis and escaped to Spain via the French Resistance if he had no patience for folk asking him about alien conspiracies…

He was picked by 4 teams, including Keeling Over and Oscar the Beast

Chuck Yeager
13 February 1923 – 7 December 2020
4 teams