In Los Angeles at the age of 97, Chuck Yeager, the most famous test pilot of his generation, was the first to break the sound barrier.
The death of the pilot was reported on Twitter by his wife Victoria. The cause of death was not specified.
During World War II, Yeager shot down 13 German planes, 5 of them in one day.
Yeager’s most significant achievement came on October 14, 1947, when he was an Air Force captain.
The pilot climbed out of a B-29 bomber as it climbed over the Mojave Desert in California from Murok Air Force Base and climbed into the cockpit of an orange Bell Aircraft X-1 experimental jet attached to the bomb bay.
It reached a speed of 700 mph, breaking the sound barrier and thereby dispelling long-standing fears that any aircraft flying at the speed of sound or faster would be torn apart by shock waves.
NASA chief Jim Bridenstein called Yeager’s death “a huge loss for the country.”