These silent video clips, culled from footage at the National Archives and Records Administration, show a generalized sequence of ground and flight operations for the Bell X-1, the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. The time period is the late 1940s/early 1950s. In order, the clips show: Test pilot Chuck Yeager checking the vehicle’s controls and the control surfaces moving; ground firing of the X-1 rocket engine; filling the tanks with liquid oxygen; positioning and mating to the B-29 carrier; taxi for takeoff; the B-29 and chase plane in flight; Yeager entering the vehicle; release from the B-29; the X-1 in flight; landing; test pilot Arthur Murray exiting the vehicle and taking off his pressure suit; Yeager and others standing and talking near the X-1; and the vehicle being towed back to the hangar. Video: National Archives and Records Administration

The Brevity Thing

What do you write in your logbook after you've just piloted a rocketplane past the "sound barrier" for the first time? If you're Chuck Yeager, you keep it short: "#1 ok"

That's the notation (then) Captain Yeager made in the Flight and Engineering Report for Bell XS-1 Ship #1 (serial no. 6062), aka "Glamorous Glennis," on this day in 1947, right after he'd flown faster than Mach 1 for the first time in recorded history. The flight, over the desert in Muroc, California, lasted just 15 minutes.

Click here to see a scan of Yeager's report for that day, and here to read about other famous logbooks.

Or watch below as Yeager explains (in a 1953 press conference) how it felt to fly supersonic.

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