Meteorology: Scanning the CAT

As it soared close to Japan's Mount Fuji on a cloudless day in March 1966, a BOAC 707 jet was suddenly battered by tremendous gusts of wind that broke it apart. All 124 persons aboard were killed. High over Wyoming in equally clear skies in March 1967, a United Air Lines 720 jet was wrenched into an 8,000-ft. plunge. Inside the cabin, a passenger was flung against the ceiling and fatally injured.

Both planes were victims of a violent and invisible phenomenon called CAT (Clear Air Turbulence), a menace that has grown proportionately...

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