14 October 1997

Brigadier General Charles E. Yeager, United States Air Force (Retired), photographed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, 14 October 1997, the Fiftieth Anniversary of his historic supersonic flight. (Photograph used with permission. © 2010, Tim Bradley Imaging)

14 October 1997: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of his historic supersonic flight in the Bell X-1 research rocketplane, Brigadier General Charles Elwood (“Chuck”) Yeager, United States Air Force (Retired) once again broke the Sound Barrier when he flew over Edwards Air Force Base in a McDonnell Douglas F-15D-38-MC Eagle, serial number 84-046. Lieutenant Colonel Troy Fontaine flew in the rear seat of the two-place fighter. Glamorous Glennis III was painted on the Eagle’s nose.

The Associated Press reported that an estimated 1,000 spectators were at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert north of Los Angeles, California, to see this historic flight.

My friend, aviation photographer Tim Bradley, and I were there. Tim took the photograph above a few minutes after General Yeager landed. As he concluded his comments to the crowd, he said, “All that I am. . . I owe to the Air Force.”

Brigadier General Charles E. Yeager, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), with Glamorous Glennis III, an F-15D Eagle, 84-046, at Edwards Air Force Base, October 1997. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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4 thoughts on “14 October 1997


  2. I was there with two of my sons. It was an amazing event and we knew we were watching history!
    But, this article gets one thing wrong, the crowd was estimated at 500,000, not 5,000!

    1. Hi, Perry. I was there also, and I’m going to stick with the original estimate of the crowd. The ramp was not overly crowded and the open hangars were easy to walk through. No problem at all getting up close (even inside) the aircraft on static display. I stood within ten feet of the General during his speech and was not in the middle of a mob. I also recall that I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and about the middle of the day, a cold front came through and I thought I would die from hypothermia. 🙂

    2. I just checked the reports from The Los Angeles Times, and you are sort of correct: the crowd for the WEEKEND, October 18 and 19, was estimated at 700,000, total. But on Tuesday, October 14, when I was at Edwards AFB, it was a MUCH SMALLER CROWD. The Associated Press (AP) reported “. . . a crowd of about 1,000 people. . . .”

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