National Affairs: Whoosh ... Whoosh ...

After hissing impatiently behind the scenes for 17 months, the Air Force's hottest jet bomber—the experimental Boeing XB-47 Stratojet—whipped into public view last week like a kerosene-burning skeet target. It left Moses Lake, Wash., with a whoosh of its six jet engines, skyrocketed 2,289 miles to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (where it rolled down the runway with a fuchsia-colored parachute blossoming from its tail, to slow it down) in three hours and 46 minutes.

This worked out to an average ground speed of 607.2 miles an hour—23 miles an hour faster than the...

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