Chuck Yeager visits South Africa

Chuck Yeager posted a link to this article on Twitter, and as a service to those of his fans who don’t read Afrikaans, I decided to translate as follows:

World-renowned pilot in SA - Saturday 19 October 2013

Surely the world’s best-known test pilot and veteran of the Second World War and the American-Vietnamese conflict was in South Africa, where he and his wife Victoria took a holiday in the Kruger National Park.

Chuck Yeager (90), a retired brigadier-general of the American airforce, became the first person to burst through the sound barrier on 14 October 1947. This was with an experimental rocket-propelled Bell X-1 at a height of 13,700 metres.

Yeager visited the South African Airforce Museum yesterday at Zwartkop in Pretoria on his way back from the Kruger Park where he had been on holiday.

He is an honorary member of the museum, as is Tokyo Sexwale, who is an honorary colonel of the museum.

Sexwale hosted a lunch for Yeager.

Col. Mike O’Connor, the officer commanding the museum, said that the function was a private one and various friends of the museum as well as air force officers had been invited.

He said that Yeager and his wife had left the park at 5:00 that morning in order to be on time for the visit and meal. “They had to leave shortly thereafter to catch their flight back to America. It was an exceptional opportunity to have them here.”

Yeager saw the Saber and Mustang aircraft among others, and spoke of his own flight experiences over more than 60 years to the audience.

In 2012 he broke the sound barrier again to celebrate the 65th anniversary of his record- this time in an American fighter plane.

“He was 89 when he did it, unbelievable,” said O’Connor.
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