DISASTERS: Bolivia 927! Turn Left

Under the high overcast the air was sharp and clear; from the control tower at Washington National Airport, swarthy, earnest 21-year-old Glen T. Tigner could see for miles out over the Virginia countryside. Traffic was light. A war surplus P-38, owned by the Bolivian government, took off for a practice flight at 11:37. It snarled off out of sight. Then there was a lull before Eastern Air Lines flight 537, a four-engine DC-4 inbound from New York, asked for landing instructions.

Tigner directed Eastern's pilot to enter a left-hand traffic pattern, go...

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