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How Chuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier, started flying

A 1985 interview with Chuck Yeager, the American pilot who first broke the sound barrier.

Former test pilot once told CBC about the 1st flight he took and the legendary career that followed

In July 1985, Chuck Yeager spoke to Midday's Valerie Pringle about some of his experiences as a test pilot. 2:14

As a Second World War veteran and test pilot, Chuck Yeager was no stranger to danger, and thus you would think there would be few things that would truly thrill him.

Yeager, of course, was the man who first broke the sound barrier, when flying a rocket-powered aircraft in 1947.

Reflecting on that moment years later, Yeager once told CBC it was an accomplishment he almost didn't expect to survive to see.

'Disappointed it didn't blow up'

Capt. Charles "Chuck" E. Yeager is shown standing next to the Air Force's Bell-built X-1 supersonic research aircraft, in this photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, after became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947. (U.S. Air Force/AP)

"When I really got above Mach 1 ... I was sort of disappointed it didn't blow up, but damn happy it didn't," Yeager said, when speaking with CBC's Midday in July 1985.

Midday host Valerie Pringle asked him if he wished he'd been able to be part of the space program, as well.

"Would you liked to have walked on the moon?" she asked Yeager, who was then 62 years old.

His answer proved he was a pilot at the core.

"Probably any person would, but I would like very much to fly the shuttle — that would be a real, wonderful thing to do," Yeager said.

A rough start

In 1962, U.S. Air Force Col. Charles "Chuck" Yeager holds a model of the Bell X-1 aircraft he flew in 1947 to become the first person to break the sound barrier. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Yeager, who turns 97 on Thursday, also talked briefly about his entry into the world of aviation.

He'd signed up for the U.S. Army Air Corps at the age of 18, was accepted for pilot training and ended up taking to his new vocation.

"When I got in the Air Force and took my first ride, I heaved my cookies and got sick," he told Midday.

"But then as I became a pilot and learned that I really had, well, good co-ordination, good eyesight and a good baseline for flying, then I began to enjoy it and, obviously, became quite good at it because I had a lot of experience."