Science: Speed-Sled

One of the toughest problems in modern high-speed flying is how to help the pilot bail out alive. A secondary problem is how to test new escape devices. Pilots are understandably reluctant to trust their lives to untried gadgets, and when a pilot does bail out of a single-place fighter, the airplane at least is sure to be lost.

The Air Force hopes to solve the problems with a high-speed, ground-borne "airplane": a rocket-propelled sled. Built with the help of Northrop Aircraft, Inc., it roars along a two-mile section of track at Edwards (formerly Muroc) Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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