This is a picture I took a few years back of a sunset, looking westward, at Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Why am I sharing this picture now? Not because I’m going back there any time soon, but just because this photo whispers peace to me. It was a very gentle evening, warm, but not overly hot, a soft breeze caressed everyone delightfully.
I believe I shared this photo back in the days shortly after I shot it, but I share it again now because perhaps you need some peace in your life. Get lost in the palms, the colors of the sky and sea, and relax. Shaka, bro! Aloha!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.
Yeager, born in Myra, West Virginia, in 1923, was a combat fighter during World War II and flew 64 missions over Europe. He shot down 13 German planes and was himself shot down over France, but he escaped capture with the assistance of the French Underground. After the war, he was among several volunteers chosen to test-fly the experimental X-1 rocket plane, built by the Bell Aircraft Company to explore the possibility of supersonic flight.
For years, many aviators believed that man was not meant to fly faster than the speed of sound, theorizing that transonic drag rise would tear any aircraft apart. All that changed on October 14, 1947, when Yeager flew the X-1 over Rogers Dry Lake in Southern California. The X-1 was lifted to an altitude of 25,000 feet by a B-29 aircraft and then released through the bomb bay, rocketing to 40,000 feet and exceeding 662 miles per hour (the sound barrier at that altitude). The rocket plane, nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis,” was designed with thin, unswept wings and a streamlined fuselage modeled after a .50-caliber bullet.
Because of the secrecy of the project, Bell and Yeager’s achievement was not announced until June 1948. Yeager continued to serve as a test pilot, and in 1953 he flew 1,650 miles per hour in an X-1A rocket plane. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1975 with the rank of brigadier general.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: When McDonald’s opened in 1986 in Rome, food purists outside the restaurant gave away free spaghetti to remind people of their culinary heritage. (If you ever invite me over for dinner, Italian is my favorite cuisine, hands down!)