Aviation: SSScramble

It will be the richest and most prestigious contract in the history of U.S. commercial aviation, and last week the nation's leading planemakers lined up in Washington to declare whether they wanted to bid for it. At stake was the contract to build a supersonic transport (dubbed the SST) to compete against the 1,500-m.p.h., delta-wing Concorde that an Anglo-French combine is building and plans to test-fly in 1966.

To the surprise of some, three proud companies—General Dynamics, Douglas and McDonnell—bowed out of the competition. Main reason was money: though the Government is expected...

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