Southwest Airlines Flight 658 pushed back from the gate and showed up as a blip on a radar screen in the tower at Dulles International Airport just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.
For the next 90 minutes, the Boeing 737 would move as a blip across one radar screen after another, as a system introduced in the 1950s tracked and guided its progress to Chicago.
The limitations of that system required Flight 658 to fly miles out of its way and burn about 67 additional gallons of jet fuel. Because a jet plane can fly more than a mile and a half in the time it takes for a radar beam to sweep across the screen, the plane had to be kept 3 to 5 miles from the nearest aircraft…. more