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March 20, 1920


JAMA. 1920;74(12):805-806. doi:10.1001/jama.1920.02620120031015

A few days ago an aeroplane carrying Major R. W. Schroeder of the American army aviation service reached an altitude of 36,020 feet, about 5,000 feet higher than the previous world's record for such a mode of flight. Only a few years ago this marvelous performance would have been rated as virtually impossible because of the limitations of the human organism at great heights. In the oft quoted balloon ascension of the meteorologist Glaisher, in 1862, an altitude of about 30,000 feet was reached. When the balloonist attained a height of 26,000 feet, he first noticed that he could not read his instruments properly. Shortly after this his legs became paralyzed, and then his arms, though he could still move his head. Then his sight failed entirely, afterward his hearing, and he became unconscious. Glaisher's companion, Coxwell, likewise incapacitated in the upper air, managed to open a valve which permitted

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