AVIATION: Right Pew, Wrong Church

The landing at Shannon Airport, Ireland, was routine. As the Pan American Airways Clipper (bound for Lisbon from New York) taxied towards the airport terminal, the pilot snapped an order: "Flaps up." The copilot, who had flown many hours in DC-4s, instinctively reached down with his left hand, yanked the lever next to his seat.

But the copilot was not in a DC-4. He was in a Constellation (which has a landing-gear lever where the DC-4 has its flap lever). Instead of the flaps coming up, the wheels came up. The Connie crashed seven feet, on to the runway. The...

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