DISASTERS: Painted Desert: 11:31

From the skies over Lake Mohave on the California-Arizona border one morning last week came the routine position report to Air Route Traffic Control: T.W.A. Constellation Flight 2, 10:55 a.m.: altitude, "21,000 ft.−1,000 on top," i.e., 1,000 ft. above clouds; estimated time over the next check point, Painted Desert: 11:31 a.m.

From above Needles, Calif., a few miles south of the Constellation, came a similar message. United Air Lines' DC-7 Flight 718, 10:58 a.m.: altitude, 21,000 ft.; estimated time of arrival over Painted Desert: 11:31 a.m.

"We Are Going . . ." Less than an hour before, the...

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