AIAA Mourns the Passing of Chuck Yeager Written 8 December 2020



Brigadier General Yeager in 2000. | Wikipedia; Public Domain

December 8, 2020 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) mourns the passing of Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, a military test pilot who was the first person to break the sound barrier, on Monday, December 7.

Yeager was a decorated U.S. Air Force pilot, having flown in World War II and the Vietnam War. He went on to become a test pilot, flying several experimental aircraft and breaking numerous speed and altitude records. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest pilots of all time. He commanded various squadrons and wings during his Air Force career and became the first commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, educating future astronauts.

“Chuck Yeager was an aviation pioneer,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “A record-breaking fighter pilot who rose to the rank of brigadier general, he led the next generation into new aeronautics technology, as well as ushering in the space age. He was the leader who demonstrated the ‘right stuff’ better than anyone. We are immensely grateful for his significant contributions.”

Media contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804.397.5270

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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.