Night of Flaming Terror

A tragic crash kills 14 aboard the world's biggest warship

Landing a jet on an aircraft carrier at night. That flat description understates the most harrowing exercise in military aviation. Seated at the controls of a plane that may weigh as much as 25 tons, a pilot approaches his carrier from the stern. All he sees to guide him are the ship's banks of dimmed, tiny lights. Slowing his airspeed to about 150 m.p.h., the pilot tries to ease his howling machine down onto a bobbing runway barely 600 ft. long. At touchdown, if all goes well, a hook on the underside...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!