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A day at the office for Chuck Yeager

A day at the office for Chuck Yeager

April 26, 1950: The Bell X-1, piloted by Capt. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, drops from a B-50 Superfortress for a test flight over Muroc Army Air Field. This was the same aircraft Yeager flew in 1947, breaking the sound barrier.

The original L.A. Times caption published with his photo on April 28, 1950:

Streaking through the thin air at 25,000 feet, an Air Force B-50 Superfortress suddenly discharges, through her huge bomb bay, a little X-1 research plane which, with its powerful rocket engine, soon darts away from mother ship. Times Reporter Marvin Miles is riding in the B-50, the first newsman ever to do so, and Times Photographer Phil Bath is in a third plane, a jet fighter, to make this extraordinary photograph — the first news photographs ever taken of the drop.

In the April 28, 1950, Los Angeles Times, Marvin Miles’ article began:


The bomb shackle opens with a sharp click and the X-1 rocket plane falls away from the belly of our B-50 Superfortress at 25,000 feet over Muroc.

Capt. Charles (Chuck) Yeager is away on his last flight in the bright orange bullet that on Oct. 14, 1947, carried him streaking through the wall of sound to shatter the legend of sonic invincibility and open a new era in sky history….

This image by Phil Bath ran as lead art on an L.A. Times photo page on the Bell X-1 flight. The portrait on Yeager, below, was part of the photo page.

Muroc Army Air Field is now Edwards Air Force Base.

While The Times reported in the above article that this was Yeager’s last flight in the Bell X-1 (serial No. 46-062), this article lists one further flight on May 12, 1950, for the movie “Test Pilot.”

The famous Bell X-1 #46-062 is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Chuck Yeager with Bell X-1 airplane in April 1950 at what is now Edwards Air Force Base. The plane, like all his aircraft, was named after Yeager’s wife. This image appeared in the book “Imagining Los Angeles: Photographs of a 20th Century City,” published by Los Angeles Times, 2000. credit: Phil Bath/Los Angeles Times


  1. May 25, 2011, 8:56 am

    Fighter pilot, test pilot, evader. Chuck Yeager had an exceptional career

  2. May 25, 2011, 9:13 am

    Chuck Yeager, fight pilot, test pilot and evader. Now there is a guy who get it done.


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