Science: Twin-Jet Pinwheel

In the cold, thin air, high over Britain's Severn River one day last week, a sleek ground-attack fighter zoomed through its paces. Its twin jets roaring at full power, the sturdy Gloster Meteor suddenly whipped up into a vertical climb. Slowly its speed dropped off until, just before it stalled, the pilot cut the power in his port engine. Like a great, improbable pinwheel, the plane revolved through a tight circle (see diagram). Three-quarters of the way around, the pilot cut the power in his starboard engine. Momentum kept the Meteor revolving until it completed a turn and a half. For...

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