AVIATION: The Fatal Flaw

In the Burbank, Calif, headquarters of Lockheed Aircraft Corp. last week, 50 commercial aviation leaders gathered to hear the answer to one of U.S. aviation's most fascinating and terrible riddles: What caused two Lockheed Electras to come apart in the sky over Texas and Indiana, killing 97 persons? To representatives of the Air Line Pilots Association and of 13 airlines (six of them foreign) now flying 136 Electras, Lockheed gave the answer: the doomed Electras' wings were torn off by a violent wing fluttering caused by a weakness in their engine nacelles.

Enormous Forces. The Electra's troubles, said J. F....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!