Science: High Hazard

Airmen, their heads higher & higher in the skies, got a word of warning last week. Dr. Samuel Gelfan of the Yale University School of Medicine explained that the pressurized cabin, which has solved many of the problems of high-altitude flying, has in turn created a new and equally tough problem: explosive decompression. The trouble can be caused either by a leak in the tightly sealed cabin or by a sudden failure of the pressurizing equipment.

Passengers aboard a pressurized, transatlantic Constellation last year knew what Dr. Gelfan meant: at 19,000 feet, the astrodome had blown off, and with the release of...

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