Sport: Planes for Pleasure

Between world wars, when Douglas Bader was a cocky, teen-age R.A.F. cadet, the planes he flew were as perky as their pilot. Light wood, fabric and singing wire, they could bounce to a landing on some farmer's field as handily as they touched down on military runways. Flat-hatting across the countryside with his face in the slipstream, a man could navigate by eye and the nearest railroad track and fly by the seat of his pants.

Just for the fun of it one bright December morning in 1931, Pilot Officer Bader decided to buzz the officers' club at Woodley Aerodrome near Reading,...

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