Science: Trained Lifeboat

One way to rescue the crew of an airplane forced down at sea is to drop a lifeboat. Chief difficulty: the survivors, whether on rafts or swimming, have a hard time getting to the lifeboat, particularly in a stiff wind. Last week the Air Force announced a solution for this problem: a radio-controlled lifeboat that picks up survivors as if it were a seagoing taxi.

When a rescue plane (a modified 6-29) spots the survivors, it drops the lifeboat on a giant (100 ft. in diameter) parachute. When the lifeboat hits the water, a radio operator in the aircraft starts the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!