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Chuck Yeager Quotes From the Famous Flying Ace

Chuck Yeager was the first human to officially break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, and many of these Chuck Yeager quotes are about doing so in the X-1.

He is arguably one of the best pilots to ever live, so it is no surprise that many of the quotes on this list are about flying.

He began his career as a private in the US army during WWII as an aircraft mechanic. In September 1942, he enlisted pilot training.

When he graduated he was promoted to the rank of flight officer (the World War II Army Air Force version of the Army’s warrant officer).

He was also a “flying ace” which means that he shot down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. For Chuck Yeager, it was a little different as he was reached what is called “ace in day” status. He shot down five or more aircraft all in one day.

Keep reading through these Chuck Yeager quotes that you can use in your daily life, even if you are not a fighter pilot!

Don’t forget to also check out these airplane quotes about flying and travel.

Short Chuck Yeager quotes to live by

1. “Rules are made for people who aren’t willing to make up their own.” — Chuck Yeager

2. “Never wait for trouble.” — Chuck Yeager

3. “Everybody that I’ve ever seen that enjoyed their job was very good at it.” — Chuck Yeager

4. “At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results.” — Chuck Yeager

5. “Hey Ridley, that Machometer is acting screwy. It just went off the scale on me.” — Chuck Yeager

6. “You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.” — Chuck Yeager

7. “You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up, but you don’t give up.” — Chuck Yeager

8. “What good does it do to be afraid? It doesn’t help anything. You better try and figure out what’s happening and correct it.” — Chuck Yeager

9. “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.” — Chuck Yeager

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10. “Maybe that helped me in war. I’m a fatalist, if that’s what you call it. The phrase that I use is ‘If you can’t do anything about it, forget it.'” — Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager quotes about flying and being a pilot

11. “If you want to grow old as a pilot, you’ve got to know when to push it, and when to back off.” — Chuck Yeager

12. “There’s no such thing as a natural-born pilot.” — Chuck Yeager

13. “The best pilots fly more than the others; that’s why they’re the best.” — Chuck Yeager

14. “For the best pilots, flying is an obsession, the one thing in life they must do continually.” — Chuck Yeager

15. “The secret of my success is that I always managed to live to fly another day.” — Chuck Yeager

16. “Whatever my aptitudes or talents, becoming a proficient pilot was hard work, really a lifetime’s learning experience.” — Chuck Yeager

17. “You really don’t think about the outcome of any kind of a flight, whether it’s combat, or any other kinds of flights, because you really have no control over it.” — Chuck Yeager

18. “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.” — Chuck Yeager

19. “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.” — Chuck Yeager

20. “I have flown in just about everything, with all kinds of pilots in all parts of the world- British, French, Pakistani, Iranian, Japanese, Chinese—and there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between any of them except for one unchanging, certain fact: the best, most skillful pilot has the most experience.” — Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager quotes about the sound barrier, the X-1, and NASA

21. “Just before you break through the sound barrier, the cockpit shakes the most.” — Chuck Yeager

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22. “It wasn’t that the X-1 would kill you, it was the systems in the X-1 that would kill you.” — Chuck Yeager

23. “In 1966, NASA took over in space, and it has been a bureaucratic mess ever since.” — Chuck Yeager

24. “We were flying supersonic. And it was as smooth as a baby’s bottom; Grandma could be sitting up there sipping lemonade.” — Chuck Yeager

25. “After about 30 minutes, I puked all over my airplane. I said to myself, ‘Man, you made a big mistake.”’ — Chuck Yeager

26. “We didn’t know if we could break the sound barrier. But it was our duty to try. That’s the way I looked at it.” — Chuck Yeager

27. “You concentrate on what you are doing, to do the best job you can, to stay out of serious situations. And that’s the way the X-1 was.” — Chuck Yeager

28. “Later, I realized that the mission had to end in a let-down because the real barrier wasn’t in the sky but in our knowledge and experience of supersonic flight.” — Chuck Yeager

29. “I ran the astronaut school for six years, and I was the commandant and when I finished in ’65, 26 of my guys went into space as NASA astronauts that I trained.” — Chuck Yeager

30. “The needle of the machmeter fluctuated at this reading momentarily, then passed off the scale. Assuming that the off-scale reading remained linear, it is estimated that 1.05 Mach was attained at this time.” — Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager quotes about the Air Force and fighter planes

31. “All that I am… I owe to the Air Force.” — Chuck Yeager

32. “You get in, you shoot, you get out!” — Chuck Yeager

33. “The first time I ever saw a jet, I shot it down.” — Chuck Yeager

34. “The eagerness to learn how and why every piece of equipment works is everything.” — Chuck Yeager

35. “The one word you use in military flying is duty. It’s your duty. You have no control over outcome, no control over pick-and-choose. It’s duty.” — Chuck Yeager

36. “Most pilots learn when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don’t do, you don’t believe anything anybody tells you about an airplane.” — Chuck Yeager

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37. “It’s your duty to fly the airplane. If you get killed in it, you don’t know anything about it, anyway. Duty is paramount. It’s that simple if you’re a military guy. You don’t say ‘I’m not going to do that—that’s dangerous.’” — Chuck Yeager

38. “That, to me, is a bunch of crap trying to shoot guys up into damned space. What they’re going to do is they’re going to wipe out half a dozen people one of these days, and that will be the end of it.” — Chuck Yeager

Insightful Chuck Yeager quotes

39. “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.” — Chuck Yeager

40. “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.” — Chuck Yeager

41. “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.” — Chuck Yeager

42. “It’s really difficult for fanatic churchgoers to understand God can’t help me. I’m the only one who can help me.” — Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager’s illustrious career

Chuck Yeager’s accomplishments were not limited to his exemplary fighting skills in WWII. He became a test pilot and flew all types of aircraft, including experimental rocket-powered aircraft for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

It was through that program and the X-1 that he was able to fly at Mach-1 and break the sound barrier. He broke many speed and altitude records throughout his career.

In 1962, he became the first commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School. This put him in charge of training astronauts for NASA and the Air Force.

Years later, he would also command flight squadrons in the Vietnam War. He was also promoted to brigadier general in 1969. Two years before he retired in 1975 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

You can share any of your favorite Chuck Yeager quotes and sayings that didn’t make this list in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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