Aviation: Safety First

To oldtime pilots, a good landing was any one from which they could walk away. The trouble with today's passenger-crammed jets is that too many people do not get a chance to walk away — even from crashes that the Federal Aviation Administration classifies as "survivable." Six years ago, for example, when a DC-8 with hydraulic-pressure trouble swerved off the runway at Denver's Stapleton Field and hit a concrete obstruction, 16 persons suffocated because the emergency exits clogged after fuel from ruptured lines fed a fire in the cabin. Two years ago,...

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