CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Famed pilot Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager will be remembered in a special way at West Virginia International Yeager Airport.
A new exhibit was dedicated Monday to Yeager, in partial observance of the 75th anniversary of Yeager’s becoming the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound on Oct. 14, 1947.
The exhibit will showcase artifacts that were donated to Marshall University by General Yeager in December 1986.
Victoria Yeager, the widow of the late pilot, was a special guest at the ceremony. She told MetroNews it’s important to honor his legacy.
“It means that people are remembering him and will remember him, and remember all that he did. He risked his life almost daily to keep us all safe,” she said.
Lori Thompson, Marshall’s head of special collections, said that among the materials in the display are a framed copy of “Bell XS-1 Makes Supersonic Flight,” from Aviation Week, December 22, 1947; a plaque presented for years of dedicated service from the U.S. Air Force; a sculpture on a wooden base commemorating the 50th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier in 1997; and a plaque presented by the Charleston Gazette-Mail for “West Virginian of the Year.”
Yeager, for whom the airport is named, was a United States Air Force officer, flying ace, and record-setting test pilot.
2022 also marks the 75th anniversary of the airport having commercial service.
The exhibit is located in the West Virginia International Yeager Airport Observation Area.
“We are thrilled to showcase the historical achievements of Gen. Chuck Yeager at West Virginia International Yeager Airport for all those passing through the airport to see,” said Airport Director and CEO Dominique Ranieri in a press release. “Gen.Yeager’s influence on our airport and on the aviation community at large is undeniable.”
The long-term goal is to have a rotation of shows about Yeager that draw from the university’s archives, said Dr. David Pittenger, a professor at Marshall who also works with the flight school. These shows will be curated by a Marshall student studying history under the supervision of Thompson and other members of the faculty.