How Can I Bust my Butt, How can I Prevent It? Chuck Yeager’s Advice Re Flying: Rule 1:

June 11th, 2013

From Chuck Yeager:

I used to & still do think: How can I bust my butt? How can I prevent it? The X-1 did not have any redundancy re ejecting the fuel. If you didn’t eject all the fuel before landing, you were landing a bomb with gear not stressed for the weight – so the X-1, with me in it, would probably blow up if fuel still on board.

And that’s not good.

To add to this, the system that allowed me to eject the fuel was electrical. Easy to lose functionality.

So I rigged a way to be able to manually eject the fuel.

The very next flight, I’m not kidding, the electrical system went out right after I was dropped. I did the flight profile and then used the manual fuel ejection.

I had had no way of testing it prior to this so hoped it worked. To find out, I stalled the airplane and checked the speed.

I descended some, checked the stall speed….

It was lower.

Phew! That meant the fuel was ejecting.

I stalled the airplane again. Stall speed was lower again.

When the stall speed equaled that of empty fuel, I went to the lake bed and landed.

Both the plane and I were able to fly another day. A pilot’s definition of an excellent landing.


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