West Germany Hellfire from The Heavens

A grisly air-show disaster kills at least 50 people and raises a transatlantic controversy

On summer weekends every year, U.S. and West European air bases throw open their gates to hundreds of thousands of spectators for air shows. The aeronautical extravaganzas are beloved by military officials as morale boosters and lures for potential recruits. The shows are equally appreciated by the public for the excitement, speed and spectacle. But all that glamour was blasted away last week during a few hellish minutes at the Ramstein U.S. Air Base in West Germany, about 70 miles southwest of Frankfurt.

Traveling at 350 m.p.h., three MB-339A jets of Italy's ten-member Frecce Tricolori (Tricolor Arrows) aerobatic team slammed together...

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