National Geographic : 1953 Oct
t) .maonatl iueogralpne societyy 553 Kodachrome by National Geographic Photographer J. Baylor Roberts A Flattop, Picking up Speed, Prepares to Launch a Jet Strike Two Panthers, soon to be thrown skyward, crouch astride the catapult slots on the bow of Philippine Sea. Others await their turn amidships and in the port line-up. Propeller-driven Skyraiders, resting on the afterdeck with wings folded, will roar along the runway under their own power. Jet bombers climb quickly to 20,000 feet or more, where fuel consumption falls off to a third that at sea level. Speeds exceeding 500 miles an hour carry them to targets within minutes. Missions must be completed in 90 minutes, for 1,000-gallon gasoline loads are by then close to exhaustion. An hour after missions amid barrages of flak over North Korea, pilots were often playing acey-deucy in the ready room.