AVIATION: Up from the Doodlebug

On a freezing December night in 1928, a weird-looking little monoplane called "the Doodlebug" took off from a Milwaukee airfield and headed hopefully in the general direction of New York City. Designer-Pilot James S. McDonnell Jr., then 29, hoped to make aviation history by a daring night flight. Ha also hoped to prove that his plane was the safest in the air, thus get enough orders to start manufacturing the air "flivver." But he had scarcely cleared Milwaukee before the engine began flying apart. By a well-executed dead-stick landing in a farmer's...

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