Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Yeager, the World War II fighter pilot ace and quintessential test pilot who showed he had the "right stuff" when in 1947 he became the first person to fly faster than sound, had died. He was 97.
"In an age of media-made heroes, he is the real deal," Edwards Air Force Base historian Jim Young said in August 2006 at the unveiling of a bronze statue of Yeager.
He was "the most righteous of all those with the right stuff," said Maj. Gen. Curtis Bedke, commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards.
Yeager, from a small town in the hills of West Virginia, flew for more than 60 years, including piloting an X-15 to near 1,000 mph at Edwards in October 2002 at age 79.
"Living to a ripe old age is not an end in itself. The trick is to enjoy the years remaining," he said in "Yeager: An Autobiography."