Top 20 Quotes From Chuck Yeager, The First Man to Break The Sound Barrier

Chuck Yeager, the first human to travel so fast that it broke the sound barrier, died Monday at 97. Being a youth born in the 1920s and growing up as an avid hunter, Yeager probably never intended to have folks cling to his every word.

Yeager flew planes in World War II and later became a test pilot for the U.S. Air Force. He set all kinds of speed and altitude records, and he was highlighted in "The Right Stuff."

Chuck Yeager Famous Quotes
Chuck Yeager during a press conference at Edwards Air Force Base during the 50th anniversary celebration of his October 14, 1947 Bell X-1 flight, in which he became the first man to break the sound barrier. Yeager again flew at the speed of sound, only this time in a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. Photo by Kim Kulish/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Here are some of his most-memorable quotes (in no particular order):

  1. "Everybody that I've ever seen that enjoyed their job was very good at it."
  2. "I don't think about life everlasting. If something doesn't have scientific evidence to back it up, I don't believe it. I'm a straight shooter."
  3. "The first time I ever saw a jet, I shot it down."
  4. "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."
  5. "If you can walk away from a landing, it's a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it's an outstanding landing."
  6. "Rules are made for people who aren't willing to make up their own."
  7. "I was always afraid of dying. Always. It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit."
  8. "The secret of my success is that I always managed to live to fly another day."
  9. "I have no regrets about my life. People ask, "If you had to do it all over again, would you do it differently?" No. That's speculation."
  10. "Just before you break through the sound barrier, the cockpit shakes the most."
  11. "The best pilots fly more than the others; that's why they're the best."
  12. "All that I am ... I owe to the Air Force."
  13. "There is no kind of ultimate goal to do something twice as good as anyone else can. It's just to do the job as best you can. If it turns out good, fine. If it doesn't, that's the way it goes."
  14. "After about 30 minutes I puked all over my airplane. I said to my self, "Man, you made a big mistake."
  15. "When I was picked to fly the X-1, it was my duty to fly it, and I did."
  16. "Unfortunately, many people do not consider fun an important item on their daily agenda. For me, that was always a high priority in whatever I was doing."
  17. "It wasn't that the X-1 would kill you, it was the systems in the X-1 that would kill you."
  18. "If you want to grow old as a pilot, you've got to know when to push it, and when to back off."
  19. "There's no such thing as a natural-born pilot."
  20. "In 1966, NASA took over in space, and it has been a bureaucratic mess ever since."