AVIATION: Last of the Line

On Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc.'s airport at Santa Monica, Calif. last week, Test Pilot John Martin climbed into the silver belly of the newest Douglas transport, the DC-7. For an hour, Pilot Martin and his three engineers gave last-minute checks to the 600 dials and indicators in the cockpit and flight engineer's compartment. Then they sent the huge, four-engine plane scooting along the runway and into the air on its first test flight, while 12,000 Douglas employees around the field set up a cheer.

The big plane is much like the DC-6B, but it has its own important differences. The DC-6B's...

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