Chuck Yeager Once Fell 30,000 Feet While on Fire
We really could put Chuck Yeager's whole career on here. He spent a lifetime flying the sort of missions that would make a normal man's testicles crawl into his eye sockets. By age 22, Yeager had shot down over a dozen fighter planes and had 13 confirmed kills. Then he became a test pilot, whose job it was to literally fly things until they broke down at about a thousand miles an hour, just to see what would happen.
You know you're badass when the superhero modeled after you looks like a pussy by comparison.
One time, while teaching at astronaut school, Yeager was flying an NF-104 -- a jet fighter already capable of going twice the speed of sound, with an extra rocket booster strapped onto it to make it go faster. It was designed to get up over 120,000 feet, 90 percent of the way to outer space (like we said, they trained astronauts in it).
So while flying one of these, the plane spun out of control, killing the engines in the process. Yeager was forced to parachute to safety, but "safety" might be the wrong word, considering that this caused him to sail through a geyser of his own burning jet fuel.
"Just be grateful I didn't drag you through a storm cloud."
The fuel burned through his suit, which was full of oxygen, and his freaking head caught on fire. Though no one knows how, he managed to put the fact that he was suffering from a case of Ghost Rider skull out of his mind long enough to figure out a way to unscrew the oxygen-filled space helmet he'd been wearing, partially melting his left index finger in the process. At this point, we'd like to remind the reader that all of this was happening as Chuck was hurtling toward Earth at about 60 miles per hour, with a partially malfunctioning parachute.
Incredibly, Yeager pried the helmet off and stuck the landing in the middle of the desert. With a partially melted hand, he packed the suit away neatly and properly before making the hike to a nearby highway. A passing motorist who witnessed the crash was the first one to find Yeager standing more or less at attention with his helmet tucked into the crook of his elbow like Buck Friggin' Rogers. The motorist, a civilian, took one look at Yeager's injuries and threw up by the side of the road.
"Was it something you ate?"
But Yeager healed up just fine, and went on to bomb the hell out of Vietnam for a couple of years and basically continue to fly around not giving a damn. He's considered the godfather of pilots, and if you ever doubted that for a moment, consider this: If you've ever noticed that, on any flight you've ever been on, all pilots basically talk the same, there's a pretty good reason for that. It's because they're all doing an imitation of Chuck Yeager's voice. Really.
For more from Gabriel, you can follow him on Twitter, and he'd really like it if you checked out his friends' band The Ranks. Will Millar's first horror novel, Infernal Machines, is coming this August, or you can just follow him on Twitter.
For more people who fought reason and lost, check out 6 People Who Died In Order To Prove A (Retarded) Point. Or learn how you can kick gravity in the balls in 6 Death-Defying Stunts That Are Secretly Easy to Do.