Aeronautics: Wings Over Everest

Every morning last week a knot of sturdy Britons, surrounded by gawping Hindu hillmen, watched a snorting little Puss Moth skitter off the field at Purnea, near the Nepal border. The Moth climbed northward up the Kusi River Valley, then carefully wheeled as it approached Nepal. Ahead, across a prodigious frozen ocean of glaciers, crevasses and icy peaks, rose the highest and holiest mountain on earth. Only by trigonometry had man ever measured Mount Everest's vast height (29,140 ft.). Only in his tenacious imagination had he ever scaled it.

Back to Purnea, the Moth...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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