It’s always a blast to visit Edwards AFB with Chuck Yeager. As we approached, we could see Rogers Dry Lake had water in it from a very rainy winter and early spring. Prehistoric shrimp, that lie dormant below the lakebed, had a chance to surface and lay their eggs.
Gen Yeager pointed out the areas where he had lived with Glennis when he was TDY – at the edge of the lakebed, and the house the one colonel built on a hillock.
We saw the two huge hangars that had been at south base and had been put on railroad tracks and moved to the other side of the lakebed.
We had stopped in Fresno and picked up seasonal fruit from our friend Dan, the son of Gen Yeager’s fruit farmer friend. This family, through Gen Yeager, has been gifting fruit to the folks at Edwards AFB for over 47 years.
After checking in to the VOQ, we headed over to the General’s house to drop off the cuties, a variety of clementines, from Dan. The General, his wife, and one son were home. We visited a while. Wonderful, attractive, knowledgeable family.
Headed off to dinner with the General and his wife, at the club. It’s always delicious there. The General’s wife stays very busy with lots of volunteer work on the base – a great role model.
The next morning started early enough – breakfast at 8am with the General, his wife, his aide who had done a great job of organizing our visit, and a few others in staff.
At 9am a few briefings re various programs.
At 10:30am, we visited one of Gen Yeager’s old friends; Dr. Jim Young, Chief Historian, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base. Dr. Young has been there 30 years.
I tease everyone and say Dr. Jim Young knows more about Chuck Yeager than Chuck Yeager. I go to Jim first when a question comes up re General Yeager or questions from family of people who have said they flew with, or worked with, or under, or over Chuck Yeager. Then I ask General Yeager. The truth is I do both because Jim often has the capacity to look up data we don’t have re others. Or at least has good suggestions of where to go look up information.
Jim keeps threatening to retire. We keep trying to convince him not to!
After our visit, we had lunch with Dr. Young, General and his wife, and a few colonels on base.
The one to my right, I asked, “What do you do?”
He gave me his title and rank.
I looked around the table and said: “Okay. But what do you do?” Everyone burst out laughing. We all understood.
He is a CFI as well. Certified Flight Instructor (civilian). I mentioned to all those there with children about the Young Eagles program – pilots who take kids 8-18 flying and once in the air, give them the controls for some safe, steady flying. This CFI said he would do it to the parents’ delight.
After lunch, we went to another briefing after which we did some photo ops. The staff were thrilled to get their photo taken with Gen Yeager. He hadn’t been back to Edwards in a year and a half.
Then on to the Test Pilot School, the best in the world.
General Yeager had been Commandant of the precursor to the Test Pilot School, the Aeronautical Research Pilot School, in the early 1960′s, training most if not all of the early astronauts.
The auditorium was full. The audience really appreciated and enjoyed General Yeager’s presentation. Standing ovation.
Then a gathering – with burgers.
Long day. But very enjoyable.