ARMED FORCES: Rider in the Purple Sky

Major Howard Johnson, 38, U.S.A.F., made a casual stop at a cafeteria one morning last week, drank a cup of black coffee, then went on to work at the Lockheed Aircraft Corp. plant in Palmdale, Calif. There, at Air Force Plant 42, ruddy, husky (5 ft. 8 in.. 170 Ibs.) Pilot Johnson squirmed into a pressure suit, picked up his helmet, oxygen mask and parachute, walked out to a dainty, needle-nosed F-104A Starfighter, a silvery sliver of jet aircraft with short (7½ ft.), knife-edged wings. Johnson checked the plane carefully: 5,000 Ibs....

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