Science: Capsule Cockpit

The heroic, traditional act of bailing out with a parachute is getting less and less popular as airplanes fly faster and higher. Pilots have landed alive (though in poor condition) after bailing out above the speed of sound (TIME, Nov. 21), but according to experts of the Office of Naval Research, no ejection-seat and parachute combination can save a pilot flying more than 1,900 m.p.h. at 70,000 ft. Less speed would be fatal at lower altitudes, because the thicker air would hit the pilot with a harder decelerating jolt.

At last week's...

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