Science: Pogo Stick

At Moffett Field, near San Francisco, the Convair XFY-1 last week made its first public test flight, inside a blimp hangar. Nicknamed "the Pogo Stick," the XFY-1 is the Navy's vertical-takeoff fighter. Standing upright on the tips of its delta wings and two big vertical stabilizers, the odd craft was tethered by six cables to control it, if necessary.

Test Pilot Skeets Coleman started the Allison turboprop engine (5,500 h.p.), and the two counterrotating propellers roared like an indoor tornado. Climbing at about 2.5 ft. per second (a slow walk), the plane rose...

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