Airlines: Starting STOL

Neatly lettered in yellow across a new airstrip that opened last week at New York's La Guardia Airport gleams the word STOL, an acronym for short takeoff and landing. La Guardia's STOLPORT, as the 1,095-ft. runway has already been dubbed, is first of its kind in the U.S. to offer commercial airplanes those desirable qualities.

The VIP among expected visitors will be the McDonnell Douglas 188, a stubby, banana-shaped ship with outsized wings. Beginning next month, it will touch down at La Guardia's STOL runway between hops to landing strips set aside in Boston and Washington for extensive testing in...

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