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 figures in the story, Yeager and Geoffrey de Havilland.

The 3D models were created using Strata Studio and the other illustrations, as well as the rest of the graphics, were produced with Adobe Illustrator. Some of the drawings are hand-drawn pen and ink illustrations that were scanned in and digitally colorized. The 3D renderings were layered together, enhanced and sharpened using Adobe Photoshop.

Part 2, "Wall in the Sky," features de Havilland's fatal effort to become the first pilot to break the barrier. Unfortunately for him, the speed of sound proved indeed to be a wall that would not give way.

Image of informational graphic: Wall in the Sky

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