AVIATION: Clawed by the Hook in the Sky

It was like flying into a tornado.

Hailstones the size of baseballs smashed into the Southern Airways DC-9 so hard that they cracked the pilot's 1½-in.-thick windshield. Turbulence tossed the jet wildly, and the rain was so heavy that it was later described as "a wall of water." First the left engine failed, then the right. Fighting for control, Pilot William McKenzie, 54, tried to glide the 25-ton plane to a safe landing.

He nearly made it. McKenzie managed to put his crippled jet down on Georgia's Route 92, near New Hope, 35 miles northwest of Atlanta. But the careening airliner...

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