Business & Finance: The $100 Million Bet

Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, lifelong specialist in the calculated risk, last week staked $100 million on the future of his Eastern Air Lines. He signed final contracts for that much in new airplanes for Eastern, the largest replacement order in U.S. aviation history. The orders were for 30 four-engined Lockheed Super-Constellations and 60 twin-engined Martin 4-0-4s. They will add an average of 65 m.p.h. to the speed of the Eastern fleet and will boost passenger capacity by 175%.

The Super-Connies are 18.4 feet longer than present ones, will carry 88 passengers instead of 60, have a 40% bigger payload. The first planes, which...

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