World: Fatal Defense

Three years ago, when West Germany's air force was losing almost two Starfighter jets a month in crashes, Kai-Uwe von Hassel, who was then the Federal Republic's Defense Minister, offered a very personal defense of the ill-fated aircraft. To critics of the U.S.-designed, German-built fighter-bomber. Von Hassel replied that he had such faith in the plane that he had no hesitation about allowing his only son to become a Starfighter pilot. Last week, after a routine 75-minute flight over the North Sea, a Starfighter piloted by Lieut. Joachim von Hassel, 29, crashed into a forest and exploded in flames. Von...