/Chuck Yeager sues Airbus for writing “Yeager broke the sound barrier”

Chuck Yeager sues Airbus for writing “Yeager broke the sound barrier”

Chuck Yeager
/ Chuck Yeager in 2015.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMHOF

In 2017, Airbus published a promotional article promoting an Airbus helicopter.

“Seventy years ago, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We’re trying to break the cost barrier. It cannot be ‘speed at any cost.'”

The 96-year-old Yeager wasn’t happy. Last week, he filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that Airbus had infringed his rights by using his name without permission.

“By using Yeager’s name, identity, and likeness and federal registered trademarks in the infringing material, Airbus impaired the ability of General Yeager to receive his established earning potential,” Yeager’s lawyers wrote.

Yeager says that he visited Airbus in 2008 and told Airbus it would cost at least $1 million to use his name and likeness in promotional materials. Airbus refused his offer. Yeager’s lawsuit accuses Airbus of using footage of Yeager’s visit in promotional materials anyway, though the lawsuit lacks details on when and how Airbus did so.

Yeager’s lawsuit mostly focuses on that 2017 “Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier” article. That sentence is the only time Yeager is mentioned, and the article never claims that Yeager endorsed AIrbus’s helicopter. The rest of the brief four-paragraph article explains how using two horizontal rotors to provide forward thrust reduces power requirements by 10 percent.

Airbus declined to comment to Reuters about the story.

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