AVIATION: Riding the Whip

The evening skies near Carleton, Mich., were overcast with scattered clouds as the two jumbo jets sped toward each other. TWA Flight 37, a Lockheed L-1011 with 114 people aboard, was cruising on course at 35,000 ft. from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. American Airlines Flight 182, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 bound from Chicago to Newark with 194 passengers and crew, was climbing to an assigned altitude of 37,000 ft.

At 7:22 p.m., Air Traffic Controller Charles Hewitt at the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center relieved another controller. Scarcely a minute after he...

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