Science: Flight Beyond Perfection

When the rocket-powered X2, the world's fastest airplane, crashed on the Mojave Desert (TIME, Oct. 8), it did not plunge to its death unwatched. Trailing behind it through the air were the radio reports of many elaborate instruments. Last week a part of what they reported leaked out of Air Force secrecy.

Captain Milburn G. Apt, who flew the X-2 on her last flight, was new at the job. He was an experienced test pilot and familiar with jet aircraft, but he had never handled the X-2 or any other rocket plane. Air experts...

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