Science: High-Flying Hopes

The oddball craft that fluttered over Otay Mesa near San Diego last week looked like a refugee from a museum of aviation antiques. But the ungainly contraption was more modern than that. Its triangular nylon wing, transparent and flexible as a shower curtain (see cut), was the Ryan Aeronautical Co.'s latest attempt to solve some of the problems of space-age flight.

The Ryan Flex Wing has no conventional control surfaces. Its pilot and 100-h.p. engine hang well below the kitelike wing, and control is accomplished by tilting the wing with respect to the heavy, low-hanging engine. If the leading point of the...

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