Science: Supersonic Bail-Out

The hair-raising story of the first pilot to bail out of an airplane at supersonic speed—and live to tell at least part of the tale—was released this week by North American Aviation, Inc.

On Feb. 26, Test Pilot George Smith, 31, left his bachelor apartment in Manhattan Beach, Calif, to buy groceries. It was a Saturday, and he was not supposed to be working, but he stopped at the North American plant to turn in some test-flight reports. Just as Smith headed toward his battered Mercury to go home, Dispatcher Bob Gallahue asked him to flight-test a new F-100A jet fighter so...

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