Aw, come ON, guys!
So on October 14th, to honor Chuck Yeager on the moment of the 65th anniversary of his record-setting supersonic flight, the Air Force gave the retired general a joy ride in an F-15.
"I really appreciated the Air Force giving me a brand new F-15 to fly," Yeager told CNN.
Seriously? I think a cub CNN reporter got duped and missed the irony of that statement. The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle went operational in 1976. Thus that "brand new F-15" may actually have been first flying at a time closer to Glamorous Glennis' historic flight than this commerative one.*
Stop down for a second and think about that. In 29 years we went from dropping an experimental rocket plane from a B29 to break the sonic barrier on its 50th try, to a third generation supersonic jet fighter being operational. Since then, we've made some advances in fighter technology, but nothing like that technical leap.
But if I'm Chuck Yeager, I'm saying, "It's 900 miles to Roswell. How about we check out a F35B, pop the sound barrier and super-cruise over to Roswell, and then hover while we watch Baumgartner do his falling trick?"
THAT's how you treat a living legend of aviation, folks. Oh, and give him an Aim 9 to make a final kill on a rogue balloon after Felix's jump, too.
*Which is really impressive, when you consider that the Eagle is still considered a viable fighter. Imagine using Sopwitch Camels or Fokker Dr. I's as fighters in Korea. Or Mustangs and Lightnings in Grenada. Or F86 Sabres during, uh, something else in the early 1980s... (Look, Grenada was already a reach.)