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Chuck Yeager's 100th birthday celebration honors the aviation hero

Photo from Chuck Yeager twitter pageA name that comes to mind when we think of aviation heroes, is Chuck Yeager. The first pilot to break the sound barrier will be honored this year in an international celebration for his 100th birthday. Feb. 13 marks what would have been Yeager's 100th birthday. He flew west on Dec. 7, 2020, at the age of 97. The Commemorative Air Force said his family wants the day to be a celebration of aviation across the world, honoring Yeager's many contributions.RELATED STORY:Chuck Yeager, famed test pilot who first broke sound barrier, dies at 97 The nationwide event will be the first annual "GREAT INTERNATIONAL FLY-INg" which is what Yeager's family wanted to honor the late aviator. Participation in the event includes flying and posting photos or videos online and tagging his accounts, or for those who don't fly, a visit to an airport café or aviation museum. Yeager had a life in historic life in aviation. He was a private in the U.S. Army in WWII and in 1941 was assigned to the Army Air Forces. He spent time as an aircraft mechanic and in September 1942 enlisted in pilot training and after graduation was promoted to the rank of flight officer. He had many aerial victories in the P-51 Mustang on the Western Front, credited with shooting down 11.5 enemy aircraft (half credit is from a second pilot assist in a single shootdown). On Oct. 12, 1944, he achieved "ace in a day" status for shooting down five enemy aircraft in a single mission. Following his accomplishments in the war, Yeager became a test pilot and became the first human to officially break the sound barrier on Oct 14, 1947, flying a Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 ft. For this ground-breaking feat, he won the Collier and Mackay trophies in 1948. Yeager continued to break speed and altitude records over the years, flying various aircraft, including experimental rocket-powered aircraft. In 1962, he became the first commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, training astronauts for NASA and the Air Force. In the later 60s, Yeager commanded fighter squadrons and wings in Germany. During the Vietnam war, he was in Southeast Asia commanding units. This accomplishment during the war and his outstanding performance led to his promotion to brigadier general in 1969 and an induction to the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973. Yeager retired on March 1, 1975, after serving a three-war active-duty flying career. For over 30 years he took on many roles, even working in the Korean War zone and then the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Yeager continued after retirement for 20 years, working for the U.S. Air Force as a consultant pilot. In his life, he flew over 360 aircraft in 70 years. He won many awards and was inducted into numerous halls of fame. In 1966 he was inducted into the International Air andamp; Space Hall of Fame, the International Space Hall of Fame in 1981, the Aerospace Walk of Honor inaugural class of 1990, was one of the 13 inductees in the California Hall of Fame in a yearlong exhibit. Yeager has been honored across the country for his contribution to aviation, with bridges and parts of highways in West Virginia bearing his name. He was added as number five on the 2013 list of The 51 Heroes of Aviation by Flying Magazine, and for many years was the highest-ranked living person on the list. The memory of Chuck Yeager and his imprint on aviation will live on and inspire future generations of pilots. The inaugural "GREAT INTERNATIONAL FLY-INg" celebration honoring his 100th birthday will be a reminder of one of the heroes of aviation and his achievements in flight.
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