NASA Langley Research Center / Public Domain
It’s incredible to think that most of the aircraft used during World War II had a top speed near the mid 450s. Sure, the Me 262 did see service at the end of the war as well as other jet and rocket-propelled aircraft, but it was propellered planes that did most of the fighting over the course of those 6 years.
Fast forward just 2 years after the war and you have a World War II ace breaking the sound barrier. Although there are numerous rumors, myths and “eyewitness accounts” of others breaking the sound barrier prior to Chuck Yeager, officially, he was the first to achieve the feat in level flight on April 2nd, 1948.
The name of Yeager’s X-1 was Glamorous Glennis. He named her after his wife.
The historical video below will tell you some info about the event, but the bottom line is that Yeager was dropped from a modified B-29 Superfortress and then fired up his rocket-engine. The point was to see what aerodynamic phenomenon will occur during supersonic flight, which basically means they had no idea and Yeager was man enough to see it for himself.
He reached Mach 1.06 or 700 mph and was later awarded National Aeronautics Association Collier Trophy and was honored by President Truman. All in a day’s work.