National Affairs: Common Colds & 'Copters

  • Common Colds & 'Copters With proper punctilio, the presidential physician, Major General Howard Snyder, diagnosed Ike's ailment as not a "cold" at all but a mild case of tracheitis, i.e., inflammation of the windpipe, accompanied by persistent coughing. Ike picked up his trouble, said Snyder, while standing for hours in the brisk and breezy weather of Inauguration Day last month reviewing the inaugural parade. Not even Georgia's warm sunshine had burned it off. As a precautionary measure, Ike slipped off to Walter Reed Army Hospital the day after his TV speech on Israel to get X rays of his sinuses and lungs. The results: negative. The President, said the attendant physicians, is "fine."

    As he was driven back to the White House, the President had reason to feel happy about the imminent solution of at least one of his minor problems: what to do about the traffic tie-ups that usually accompany his trips around town—and especially along his much-traveled route to and from Washington National Airport. Reason for the tangle: all normal traffic pouring in and out of the main thoroughfares that Ike travels has to be cut off until the presidential motorcade goes by. Ike, himself impatient of transportation delays, has often expressed regrets that other motorists must be inconvenienced by his trips.

    For months, urged on by his personal pilot and Air Force aide, Lieut. Colonel Bill Draper, but at first actively opposed by the Secret Service (which had similar objections before Ike began to use two-engined instead of four-engined planes for short hauls), the President has wanted to beat his traffic problem by using a helicopter to take him directly from the White House to the airport—and even as far as his Gettysburg farm. The White House last week announced that Ike had given the green light for helicopter test flights to and from the White House's south lawn in preparation for a regular service.

    Neither the machine nor the President's 'copter pilot has yet been selected; the Air Force is now testing various 'copters for suitability, and Draper, who has flown 'copters himself, is checking out Army and some civilian pilots for possible employment. Hottest Washington bet on the machine that will win out: Bell's plush, 2,350-lb. 47-J, which normally carries four, including pilot and copilot, has a range of 194 miles and a 108-m.p.h. top speed.

    In other White House activities last week the President:

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