Science: Death at Farnborough

Four years ago, Test Pilot John Derry became the first Briton to pass the speed of sound and live to tell about it (TIME, Sept. 20, 1948).* Last week, at Britain's annual Farnborough Air Show, Derry was flying a De Havilland DH-110, a twinjet, all-weather fighter. Before 120,000 spectators, including his young wife, Pilot Derry climbed to more than eight miles and dived, jets screaming, straight toward the crowd. Down he flashed at more than 700 m.p.h. When he leveled off, the double thunderclap of his shock waves—palpable as ocean breakers—crashed against...

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