Science: Here to There, Accurately

On a blustery February morning in 1953, a B-29 took off from Massachusetts' Bedford airport and pointed its nose along the great-circle route to Los Angeles. There were eight people aboard the big bomber, but after take-off no one worked the controls. For two hours, a pilot sat watching the instruments. Then he got bored and let the plane fly itself. It did, making minor corrections for each gust of air. It rose to 21,000 ft. to traverse the Rockies, stayed on course through a 100-m.p.h. wind shift over Nevada. Finally, 13 hours and...

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