Science: Spread-Wing Jet

Modern jet airliners have a monstrous hunger for real estate. Their take-offs and landings are so fast that they eat up runways two miles long. But Seattle's Boeing Aircraft Co. is getting ready to put the big birds on a skimpy diet. Boeing's latest passenger plane, the three-jet 727, will be fitted with special wing flaps designed to get in and out of smallish airports with ease.

The use of flaps to aid a plane on take-offs and landings is an old technique, but few wings have ever had as many appendages as are planned for the 727. As the swift airliner...

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