You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done. – Chuck Yeager
Chuck Yeager, World War II fighter pilot ace and the most famous test pilot of his generation flew more than 150 military aircraft, logging more than 10,000 hours in his long and illustrious career. His most well known achievement came on Oct. 14, 1947.
An Air Force captain at the time, in a Bell Aircraft X-1 that would detach from a B-29 bomber’s bomb bay, they set out to test supersonic flight. 43,000 feet above the Mojave Desert in California, he surpassed 660 miles per hour in the bullet shaped Bullet X-1, breaking the sound barrier. The first person to ever do so.
It had long been a fear that a plane flying at or above the speed of sound would be torn apart by shock waves. “It wasn’t a matter of not having airplanes that would fly at speeds like this. It was a matter of keeping them from falling apart,” Yeager said.
He knew the risks but like he said “no risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done”. He said after that infamous super-sonic flight “When you’re fooling around with something you don’t know much about, there has to be apprehension. But you don’t let that affect your job”.
General Yeager sadly passed away on December 7, 2020, he was 97.