American test pilot Chuck Yeager flew the X-1 aircraft, affectionately named "Glamorous Glennis" after his wife on October 14th, 1947. Yeager's historic flight signaled the first manned flight to break the sound barrier, launching the USA flight program ahead of Britain and Germany.
It was more rocket than plane, developed specifically to fly through the shock waves of the sound barrier, with Yeager as pilot. "About half of the engineers gave us no chance at all of ever successfully flying beyond the speed of sound. They said it's a so-called barrier and the airplane would go out of control or disintegrate, but I didn't look at it that way."
More info @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dke2i-xO1uo