Crashing Through the Envelope

Over the Mojave Desert, a B-1 dives to a fiery end

The purpose of test flights is to flirt with what pilots call the outer edge of the envelope, to push a plane to the limits of its capability and see what it can do. That is what one of the prototypes of the sleek plane was attempting over the Mojave Desert near Edwards Air Force Base in California last week when it plunged to the ground in a fiery crash. It was the first serious accident in 418 test flights of B-1 prototypes since...

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