Aviation: Fighting for the Short Haul

First came one of those infuriating 2½-hour delays on the ground while a mechanic replaced a faulty electrical relay, a standard item on any jet transport. Then Test Pilot Brien Wygle gunned the plane down a mere 3,200 ft. of runway and climbed swiftly into the sky above Boeing Field near Seattle. Boeing's twin-engine 737 was making its late-starting entry in the race to sell short-haul jets to the world's airlines.

Once the plane got aloft, everything went so smoothly on the two-hour 36-minute flight to nearby Paine Field that Wygle radioed: "I...

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