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Life, Howard Sochurek –Humphrey’s Peak


For the 1956 Jet Age issue of Life magazine, I wanted to photograph the afterburners of some fighter jets going into the sunset—three red balls up here and one red ball down there. I thought that would be terrific. I was with a not-too-experienced pilot. We got up to 41,000 feet, and the canopy blew. It's a phenomenon called explosive decompression, where the canopy actually is stressed to the point where it explodes. You lose the antenna, which is on top of the canopy. I could no longer communicate with the pilot, and he couldn't communicate with me.

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