City Covered Up Yeager's Fabled Bridge Stunt

Press, public kept mum about '48 flight under city bridge
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2008 6:00 PM CDT
Capt. Charles E. Yeager standing next to the Air Force's X-1 supersonic research aircraft, after he became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – When local son Chuck Yeager flew his jet under a Charleston bridge in 1948, there was no advance warning—and no official record of it afterward. The rebellious fighter pilot was scheduled to buzz a boat race, but no one expected him to do it from 6 feet above the water, and no one snapped a picture, reports the Charleston Gazette.

Tens of thousands of people saw the stunt, which violated FAA and Air Force regulations. "They knew it was done by one of them, for one of them, and they joined in a conspiracy of silence," says the reporter who covered the event. He omitted details from his story after receiving a call from an Air Force official who said a full account could get Yeager, the first pilot to fly faster than the speed of sound, in hot water.