October 14, 1947: Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier
On this day in 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound aboard the experimental Bell X-1 rocket plane. Many aviators believed that this feat was not possible because of the theory that the rise of drag due to approaching the speed of sound would tear any aircraft apart. Yeager’s accomplishment was not announced until the following year because the flight was attempted and completed in secrecy.
Explore this NOVA interactive site to test your knowledge and learn some basics about the sonic boom.
Photo: U.S. Air Force