Business: PRIVATE PLANES ON THE RISE

THE headline makers of the U.S. air world are supersonic fighters, jet bombers and transports. But today, almost unnoticed amidst the sonic booms, a second segment of the industry is enjoying a rise of unparalleled proportions: the private-plane industry, which is riding the jet stream of its own $1 billion boom.

The U.S. private aviation fleet has soared to 66,000 planes, more flying machines than the combined air forces of both the U.S. and Soviet Russia. Last year alone, 18 light-plane makers added another 6,000 craft to the fleet, and grossed a record $125...

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