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Phil Mercedes, a once illustrious pilot, forfeits his reputation and his pilot's license because of his fondness for alcohol. Determined to help her brother reform, Phil's sister Kay quits drafting school and comes to live with him. Using an assumed name, Kay wheedles her way into a drafting job at the McLean aircraft factory, where she falls in love with her boss, engineer Martin Ames. McLean is in danger of going bankrupt and thus desperately needs to win a government contract for a new fighter plane. When Martin wrestles with the problems of wing design, Kay presents him with a revolutionary aerodynamic solution that Phil has designed. The plane then undergoes a test flight, and all goes well until test pilot Dick Allerton claims that the wings are unsafe and refuses to perform the last test. Believing that Dick has deliberately sabotaged the test because of his rivalry with Martin over Kay's affections, Phil commandeers the craft to perform his own test. Dick's instincts prove correct, however, when the wings break off during a dive and the plane crashes in a ball of fire. Phil's license is permanently revoked, and the loss of the test model puts McLean in jeopardy of losing his factory until Phil suggests some structural changes to remedy the weakness in the wings. The newly designed craft passes all the tests until the landing gear freezes, imperiling the plane. To save the craft, Phil sacrifices his own life to pry the gear lose, thus winning the contract for McLean and Martin and saving the factory.