AIR: One-Third of an Inch

A fitting that should have been 12/32s of an inch thick, but which was carelessly machined down to less than 2/32s caused the glider tragedy at St. Louis three weeks ago (TIME, Aug. 9). So announced the War Department last week, after suspending two civilian inspectors and grounding about 100 gliders like the one that killed St. Louis' mayor, the president of the glider-making company and eight others.

Probably responsible: some lax machinist who cut the part freehand and bored too deep, perhaps because his employer, a smalltime subcontractor, lacked a jig or automatic stop mechanism. An overrushed inspector tossed...

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