AVIATION: Small Wonder

At Honolulu Airport one day last week, a tiny, single-engined Beechcraft Bonanza was rolled out onto the runway. Into it stepped lanky, 29-year-old William P. Odom, round-the-world speed champion (TIME, Aug. 18, 1947), dressed in a splashy tie, double-breasted suit and Homburg hat. Odom had managed to cram 300 gallons of gasoline into his red-and-silver monoplane, some in extra tanks on his wings and some in his cabin.

With a handful of chicken sandwiches, a Thermos jug of hot tea and some water beside him, Odom took off and headed east. Nine hundred miles away, he waved goodbye to a...