World: Falling Starfighters

West Germany still has trouble keeping her planes in the air. Last week the crash toll of F-104G fighter-bombers—known as Starfighters—rose to 70 when a German navy lieutenant safely ejected after his engine failed near Cologne. The noncombat loss of so many planes compares in military aviation only with the Luftwaffe's own horrendous record in the late 1930s, when it lost 572 aircraft in 1938 alone, including the mass crash of 31 Stuka dive bombers that blindly followed a flight leader through the clouds and smack into the ground.

The West Germans blame the Starfighter crashes, in which 37 pilots have perished,...

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