The World: The Men Who Watched The Planes Go By

Plane spotting, like collecting train numbers and automobile license plates, is one of those eccentric pastimes that the British love. Robert Curtis, 24, and Edward Paul Mason, 23, had been members of plane-spotting clubs since they were teenagers. In late September they took leave of their jobs in London and went to Yugoslavia. There they spent six days driving about the country, stopping at a dozen airfields to jot down registrations, types and numbers of all the aircraft they saw.

The two young hobbyists had almost completed their project when a Yugoslav civilian...

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