Charles « Chuck » YEAGER – 71 years ago !


Supersonic aircraft X-1 in flight
Photo: NASA

Captain Charles « Chuck » YEAGER broke the sound barrier with the help of his friend Jack RIDLEY on a 14th of October 1947 – He did it 71 years ago!

Brigadier General Charles Chuck Yeager next to his X-1 aircraft

(U. S. Air Force illustration/Mike Carabajal)

Supersonic aircraft X-1
Photo: NASA

Supersonic aircraft X-1 pre-flight inspection

Photo: U.S.Air Force Link


Birth of Manned Rocket Research Airplanes: 1946 to 1975

The first reliable, effective rocket engine that would provide boost for experimental research aircraft was produced by four members of the American Rocket Society (ARS) who combined forces to form Reaction Motors Incorporated (RMI) (Rockaway, New Jersey) for developing the Experimental Liquid Rocket (XLR-11) rocket motor. The XLR-11 engine had four separate rocket chambers. Each chamber provided 1500 lb of rated thrust and could be operated independently as a means of throttling thrust in quarters, up to 6000 pounds. The XLR-11 possessed remarkable longevity, powering an impressive fleet of rocket aircraft for more than a quarter of a century (1946 to 1975). This fleet of vehicles were the first rocket aircraft devoted solely to high performance experimental flight research. They were not constrained by military or commercial demands and ranged from being the first to break the sound barrier (XS-1), to the first to reach Mach 2.0 (D-558-II [fig. 5]), to the first to exceed the X-2 Mach 3.2 record (X-15 with two XLR-11 engines).

D-558-II airplane on Rogers lakebed

Figure 5. The D-558-II airplane on Rogers lakebed.

The X-1E – Early Development of Energy Management

Design efforts to extend aircraft performance produced increased wing loadings, W/S, and decreased lift-to-drag ratios, L/D. These design changes were beneficial in reducing drag to achieve supersonic and hypersonic speeds, but were also detrimental in that they reduced the area of the maneuvering footprint and presented difficulties in the approach and landing.

As L/D values decreased, the glide slope angle and the rate of descent increased, making it more difficult for pilots to estimate distances and times required for acceptable landings. The X-1E (fig. 6) was modified with a low-aspect-ratio wing having a thickness-to-chord ratio of four percent – the only aircraft of the X-1/D-558 series to have sufficiently low L/D values to require unique energy management techniques. This X-1E was the first to experiment with approach patterns designed to give
the pilot more time in the traffic pattern to manage energy.

The landing pattern was approached in a conventional manner except that altitudes and speeds were somewhat higher than for
powered aircraft. The initial reference point was established at 12,000 ft (mean sea level) on a downwind heading (180 deg remaining to turn). The downwind leg was offset some four miles from the centerline of the landing runway. On downwind, abeam the touchdown point, landing gear and partial flaps were deployed at a speed of 240 knots. Full flaps were usually deployed on the final approach. At the initial reference point the pilot had almost three minutes until touchdown – additional time for handling increased speeds and sink rates.7,8

X-1 supersonic aircraft on Lakebed

Figure 6. The X-1E airplane on Rogers lakebed.

X-1E supersonic aircraft under B-29 Mothership

Secret declassified USAF pilot Charles Chuck Yeager after breaking the sound barrier on X-1

Report from

X-1 supersonic aircraft instrument panel

(Text from the NASA at:


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AVIATION ENGLISH IS 10 YEARS TODAY – Dear Readers, Let Me Thank You This Way:

Forces of the air Henri Farman 1908

A special gift to you today as AVIATION ENGLISH or was born on May 13, 2008 as « Prépa PLS Anglais ». You have clicked on its pages around 650,000 times. Thank you! More than 1,000 posts after (I have deleted many to get the blog more interesting), I cannot write as I used to as I had my work cut out, and more particularly, I wrote a book « Une autre histoire de l’aviation » which took three years to complete. Dear readers THANK YOU SO MUCH for visiting this website, for commenting on social media. Therefore, let us celebrate with a gift to you – a page of links that can be useful to you:

AVIATION ENGLISH ou a démarré le 13 mai 2008. Pour ses 10 ans, en cadeau pour vous chers lecteurs:



AVIATION ENGLISH has plenty of links and posts about interesting videos and bilingual topics, but it is not the only one:

AVIATION ENGLISH regorge de liens et articles sur des sujets bilingues et vidéos intéressantes mais ce n’est pas le seul:

The links below will take you to websites that will immerse you in an English-speaking environment. If you add them to your favourites or bookmarks, you can take full advantage of them.

Les liens ci-dessous vous emmènerons vers des sites internet qui vous feront baigner dans un environnement anglophone. Si vous les ajoutez dans vos favoris ou marque-pages, vous pourrez en profiter pleinement.

For Training Purpose / Pour Apprendre :—Learn-English—EFL-ESL-p397051/?topicId=37707864

Talk Radio (Fluent English) / Radio Avec Conversations :


Easy English Expressions (VIDEOS)–Judy-p542244/–Media/Wait-Wait-Dont-Tell-Me-p46/              (AVIATION)

FCL English / Anglais Aéro De La Radiotéléphonie Internationale :

In English, please


Le dictionnaire aéronautique de Pierre Boi, un incontournable.

Il vous reste encore plein d’autres liens à découvrir ici:

sphinx ailé




Le livre UNE AUTRE HISTOIRE DE L’AVIATION est toujours à 26,38 €. Un e-book est en préparation.

Il reste encore quelques exemplaires du livre. Profitez-en, il est toujours au prix de lancement. Une augmentation du tarif d’environ 3 € est prévue dans les prochains jours pour la nouvelle version de la première édition: AUTRE HISTOIRE DE L'AVIATION, le livre



As I was stumbling upon a fantastic picture shared by Stéphane Querry (follow his blog Survols), look at what the Californians could see up in the sky yesterday, on Friday, December 22, 2017:

Alors que je suis tombé sur une vue fantastique partagée par Stéphane Querry (suivez son blog Survols), regardez ce que les Californiens pouvaient voir dans le ciel. C’était hier, vendredi 22 décembre 2017:

The trails left by SpaceX Falcon 9 launch were so spectacular that the Californian witnesses believed it was a UFO. Beyond these impressive images, a new era has just begun as this lift off has sent 10 telecommunication satellites into space to build up the « orbital real estate » of the Iridium® satellite constellation. Aircraft, ships and land vehicles navigation will never be the same thanks to this network:

Les traînées laissées par le lancement de SpaceX Falcon 9 étaient si spectaculaires que les témoins californiens ont cru qu’il s’agissait d’un OVNI. Au-delà de ces images impressionnantes, c’est une nouvelle ère qui vient de commencer étant donné que ce lancement a envoyé 10 satellites de télécommunication dans l’espace pour construire le « parc orbital » de la constellation Iridium®. La navigation des aéronefs, des bateaux et des véhicules terrestre ne sera plus jamais la même grâce à ce réseau: