Infoartz Ideas

Chuck Yeager and the "Speed of Sound" (Part 4)

William Pitzer Illustrations Infographics

It's fitting in some ways, even though Yeager fought in the European Theater in WWII, that Chuck Yeager passed away on Pearl Harbor Day. Another interesting tidbit is that it was a Tuesday when Yeager took the X-1 into the history books. Altogether fitting that I should be posting about it on a Tuesday long removed. Yeager's broken ribs, from falling from a horse while riding with his wife Glennis the night before the flight, and Ridley's fix (a broom handle) that allowed Yeager to latch the X-1's hatch, were featured moments in the film, The Right Stuff. For Part 4, "High Desert Hero" of the...

Read more →


Chuck Yeager and the "Speed of Sound" (Part 3)

William Pitzer Illustrations Infographics

Part 3, "Bell's Mach Buster," includes a lot of details about the tiny, rocket-propelled aircraft that Yeager rode into history. Patterned after a .50 caliber bullet, the X-1 was sleek and unique, designed for a single purpose, to break the sound barrier. As I worked on the print graphics, I also started working on an online interactive graphic for the newly formed digital interactive group at National Geographic. Mark Holmes, a long-time friend who I worked with on most of the freelance work I was doing for the magazine, had moved over to the interactive group from art director for the magazine and suggested...

Read more →


Chuck Yeager and the "Speed of Sound" (Part 2)

William Pitzer Illustrations Infographics

Numerous sources were pulled together to create the serial, they are listed on each panel. Two primary sources drawn upon were the History Office at Edwards AFB in California, via phone and mail, and in-person visits to the library at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. I spent dozens of hours searching for reference material to create a 3D model of the Bell X-1, a modified B-29 bomber that carried the orange rocket-propelled craft aloft, and the F-80 Shooting Star chase plane flown by test pilot Bob Hoover. I also drew illustrations of the other aircraft and the two key...

Read more →


Chuck Yeager and the "Speed of Sound" (Part 1)

William Pitzer Illustrations Infographics

In 1997 I created a four-part graphic serial entitled Speed of Sound to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Yeager's historic flight through the "wall in the sky." Part 1, "Mr. Right Stuff," focused on the man himself, a fellow West Virginian who grew up near my hometown, Charleston. We were also fellow USAF veterans as I enlisted at age 17 serving as an illustrator for four years. As a young boy I liked drawing jets and bombers, at one point sending some of my artwork to the USAF at the Pentagon at the urging of my teachers.  In 1997 I was working...

Read more →


Hugo’s 10 Hours of Havoc

William Pitzer Infographics

As Hurricane Dorian drives toward the southeast coast, I thought that we should revisit one of the last major graphics I produced in my newspaper career. In 1989, another major hurricane came ashore and wrote its name in the “history book of infamy” as the most devastating weather event in the Carolinas. When the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo rolled around, I teamed up with The Charlotte Observer’s Steve Lyttle (our newsroom’s intrepid weather reporter) to develop a single page infographic that recounted the storm’s path as well as some of the superlative mechanics and numbers that serve as a...

Read more →