Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas' Helmet Flown on Chuck Yeager's First Supersonic Flight. On October 14, 1947 Cardenas, piloting a B-29 launch aircraft, released Chuck Yeager's X-1 "Glamorous Glennis" over the California desert marking the first manned supersonic flight. Robert Cardenas was a seasoned pilot long before joining the X-1 project. He was a veteran of twenty missions over the flak-filled skies of Germany. On his last mission he was shot down and despite a head wound from flak he managed to escape and evade his captors and make his way back to Allied lines. After the war Cardenas attended the Air Force's Flight Performance School and acted as chief test pilot of the bomber division. In the summer of 1947 Cardenas was selected as the Officer in Charge of the X-1 project. It was in this capacity that he participated in the historic first manned supersonic flight.
    His helmet is an early hard shell variant. Protective flight clothing technology had not kept pace with the rapid advances in jet aircraft development and WWII-era leather and cloth helmets were still the norm during this period. The helmet is constructed of molded laminated cotton impregnated with a phenolic resin. Though originally issued in white, helmets were painted at the whim of their owners and Cardenas' choice of color was gold. The helmet has an attached sun screen, likely a later modification. The avionics are present including the lead with U-93A/U plug. The helmet interior is fully padded and lined with leather. The helmet shows honest wear with some flaking to the leather combing with crazing and moderate chipping to the exterior surface.

    This helmet may be the only aviation item from this historic flight left in private hands.

    Included with the helmet is Cardenas' 1960s era survival vest. The vest is in virtually unused condition and is stenciled on the reverse "Col Cardenas". The vest is complete and all buttons and zippers are in working condition.
    To bring the story of that first supersonic flight alive the lot includes a copy of The Quest For Mach One: A First-Person Account of Breaking the Sound Barrier (New York: Penguin Studio, 1997), first edition, quarto, 142 pages.

    The consignor purchased this helmet and vest directly from General Cardenas.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Clothing, Costumes & Jerseys (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2008
    25th-26th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 829

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2018 June 9 The Glen Swanson Collection of Indian War Relics, Including Little Big Horn Legends of the West - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 November 10 Space Exploration - Dallas
    2017 November 10 Space Exploration - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $852,131