On Oct. 14, 1947, an aircraft broke the sound barrier for the first time, achieving a milestone some had thought would never be reached. A new documentary celebrating that achievement will air on Tuesday, October 12, on the Smithsonian Channel.
The documentary, "Breaking the Sound Barrier," will examine the life of legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager, who flew more than 300 combat hours in World War II by the age of 22. He was also chosen for the mission to fly the rocket-powered X-1, the first of a line of experimental aircraft that continues to this day, beyond Mach 1.
Built by Bell Aircraft, the then-top-secret, bullet-shaped, air-dropped X-1 was designed for one purpose: to fly faster than the speed of sound and explore any mysteries that lurked in that flight regime.
The documentary describes the previous efforts that claimed aircraft and lives before Yeager strapped into the bright orange Glamorous Glennis (named after his wife) for his date with history. His achievement 74 years ago changed the course of aviation history and affected how we fly today.