On October 14th, 1947, a young Air Force captain from West Virginia strapped himself into the Bell X-1 rocket plane, and made history by breaking the Sound Barrier for the first time. The General recounted the days leading up to the flight on his Twitter account (where he’s very quick to tell you if you’re WRONG! about something aviation related… perhaps Twitterdom’s best crotchety grandpa account), and of course, it was most famously acted out by Sam Sheppard as Yeager in The Right Stuff. The aircraft now hangs in the Air and Space Smithsonian in Washington DC, and you can see a 360 degree view of its cockpit here, where you can observe just how cramped it was.
That seat. Ouch just looking at it.