mach-buster.co.uk

AFFTC logo

When WWII Started

cgglen3

Chuck Yeager had no idea how the next few years would change his life. To start with, when he enlisted in the Army air Corps he didn't even know that he wanted to be a pilot, he enlisted as an aircraft mechanic at Tonopah in the desert in Nevada.

The first time he went up for an airplane ride (as a passenger with a maintenance officer) he threw up all over the back seat, Yeager states in his autobiography that " I'd have rather crawled across country than go back up". Little did he know that a scant few years later the Colonel in Chief of the USAF flight test center would say that he was one of (If not the) finest, most instinctive pilot he had ever seen. Soon after this flight, the Air Corps(as it was in 1942) decided to start a "Flying Sergeant" program, meaning that you didn't have to be a college graduate to become a pilot for the Air Corps. This program did not last long, and just before Yeager earned his wings, the programme was scrapped. So when Yeager got his wings, he became a fighter pilot with the rank of Captain.

His fighter training was completed in a Bell P39-Airacobra(5 years later, he would become the most famous pilot ever of a Bell Aircraft). The P39 had a strange layout, with the engine being behind the cockpit with a long prop-shaft conecting from the gear box to the propeller(it was this reason that the P39 wasn't too popular with the US pilots flying it, but Chuck later stated that the P39 was one of his favourite machines to fly). After raising hell for a few months raising shingles from roofs, buzzing cows and clipping old Pa Clifford's tree, meeting the woman who would later become his wife(Glennis Dickhouse); Chuck and his squadron was sent over to England to fight the enemy.

Below you will find a small gallery of images of Yeager taken during WWII