Aeronautics: The Supersonic Cobra

The Air Force officers who christened their controversial new research plane the Valkyrie were probably confused. Valkyries were the screaming maidens of Nordic mythology who selected the warriors who were to fall in battle, and conducted them to Valhalla. But when the long-delayed XB-70A was finally rolled out of its hangar at North American Aviation last week, no one else knew what to call it either. Some said it looked like a hooded cobra; to others it was a praying mantis, a flying anteater, a banana split towing an orange crate. To...

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