The VFR/IFR deal was different in the '50s, too. It was perfectly legal to cloud fly in uncontrolled airspace. It still is but there was a lot of uncontrolled airspace then and not much now. As is true today, we had a burning desire to get as much utility as possible out of our airplanes. We knew, though, that we were pretty much on our own to figure out the weather and not fly the airplane into something we couldn't handle, or into the ground. There would never be a way to tell, but I have often wondered if we did any worse on weather-related accidents per 100,000 hours than pilots are doing today.