One of aviation’s living legends, Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager USAF (ret.), has confirmed his plans to attend EAA AirVenture 2011. Yeager is scheduled to arrive Tuesday, July 26, and depart Sunday, July 31, with numerous special appearances throughout the rest of the week. EAA AirVenture 2011 will be held July 25-31 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
Yeager will give a presentation at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, at the EAA AirVenture Museum, then later that day will be a special guest at the EAA Young Eagles Volunteer Dinner in the museum’s Eagle Hangar.
On Thursday, July 28, he will attend the Gathering of Eagles gala event in the Eagle Hangar, where one of the auction items is a flight in the EAA Ford Tri-Motor with the legendary pilot. That flight will take place during the day on Friday, July 29, along with youth flights and others.
Theater in the Woods welcomes Yeager on Friday, July 29, for an informal chat scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Yeager makes his final appearance at a presentation in the EAA AirVenture Museum on Saturday, July 30, at 1 p.m.
Yeager has flown more than 341 different types of military aircraft in his long and distinguished flying career. He flew in four wars: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Pakistan for their war with India in 1971-73. He distinguished himself in aerial combat flying P-51 Mustangs with the 357th Fighter Group over France and Germany from 1943-1945. He shot down 13 enemy aircraft – five on one mission, four on another. He also shot down an Me-262 jet and damaged several others.
The World War II ace then served a nine-year Air Force assignment as the nation’s leading test pilot and became well known throughout the world as the first person to fly an aircraft faster than the speed of sound. That occurred on Oct. 14, 1947, when Yeager piloted the Bell X-1 “Glamorous Glennis” to a speed of Mach 1.06 (700 mph) over what is now Edwards Air Force Base in California. Yeager also is the first person to exceed Mach 2, which he did on Dec. 12, 1953.
In 1994, Yeager was named the second chairman of EAA’s budding Young Eagles program, which had the initial goal of providing flight experiences to 1 million kids ages 8-17 by Dec. 17, 2003 – the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight. Under Yeager’s chairmanship, tens of thousands of EAA volunteer pilots flew a total of 974,006 kids, including flying more than 300 himself.
He received the EAA Freedom of Flight Award in 1994, the year he succeeded Cliff Robertson as Young Eagles chairman. When he stepped down as chairman in 2004, Yeager was named EAA Young Eagles chairman emeritus.
In 1973, Gen. Yeager was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame, and in 1976, he was presented with the peacetime Special Congressional Silver Medal. In 1984, President Reagan presented him with the Medal of Freedom.
Yeager has written two books, “Yeager: An Autobiography”and “Press on! Further Adventures in the Good Life”.