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ArtMan

Photo Of Airline Beacon / Arrow

9 posts in this topic

Can someone point me to a photo of a still-existing air beacon and/or concrete arrow please.

 

The only beacons I've looked for are long gone, but I suppose some of them are still around and have been recovered and photographed by us intrepid benchmarkers.

 

Thanks,

-Art-

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ArtMan

 

I will upload a photo of PG1665 next week when I get home. It is right around the corner from my house. It is nothing special.

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A VOR or VORTAC station is probably not what the old references to beacons are talking about. PG1665 mentioned above is a light on a steel tower. I was also thinking beacon might sometimes refer to low frequency radio beacon towers. Any station described before the early 1950's would definitely not be a VOR.

 

And I don't really like the idea of having a cache close to one of the FAA's important pieces of property. Maybe out in the boonies no trouble will come of it, but it is not much different than airport perimeters if somebody official sees you there.

Edited by Bill93
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My command of aviation history is not authoritative but, as I recall, airway beacons were lights on towers that were used for navigation in the 1920's through the 1940's. In the late 30's, "radio ranges" (non-directional radio beacons), the antennae of which looked like AM radio masts, began to replace the old airway beacons. In the 1950's, VOR (Very high frequency Omni-directional Ranges) began to replace the old radio ranges. VORs were supplemented with DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) and TACAN (the military version of the VOR/DME = TACtical Air Navigation system).

 

I have never seen an airway beacon, but I suspect they looked a lot like the airport beacon at HM0531.

 

The device in the 2oldfarts' photo, above, is a VOR/DME. Although no longer cutting-edge technology (having been surpassed by inertial and GPS systems), VORs and TACANs are still considered to be critical components of our national infrastructure, and are both aviation mission and aviation safety critical. I would steer more clear of these than I would railroad ROWs.

 

Will

Edited by seventhings
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Here is one near Philip, SD. PT1156 It's a bit blurry because the picture was taken while speeding by on the highway.

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I believe the above two (HM0531 and PT1156) are Airport Rotating Beacons. These are essentially rotating "spotlights", with beams in each direction, normally white in one direction, green in the opposite direction. For military airfields, the white side is "split" so when you see it, you get a "double flash" as it sweeps by your location. These are very useful from the air (even these days!), when trying to pick out an airfield from the sprawling city lights around it. Yes, I have several thousand hours flying time (military & civilian, US & foreign)

 

Artman was talking about the similar, but historic AIRWAY BEACONS, and their cousins, Concrete Arrows. They were similar to Airport Rotating Beacons, but were for long distance navigation (there were transcontinental routes!). Thay later had "AN" radio beacon stations [long story] and then then newer low frequency (near AM radio channels) radio "homing" beacons (non-directional beacons = NDB). [NDB's are still used as LOCAL airport aids, as part of ILS landing systems - different story]. These airway beacons ARTMAN asked about are seriously obsolete (50+ years?), and I doubt many (any?) survive where they used to be (maybe some were moved to aviation museums?). I have hunted for several in California, with no joy (as a pilot would say = didn't find). I think I have a pic of the wreckage of one on the top of a peak. I'll post it if I can find it. As I recall, it looked like it rusted to the point it fell over. 50+ years will do that with no maintenance, even in California!

 

BTW, as of 4 - 5 years ago, there were very large Concrete Arrows (lighted at night) that helped you make a relatively tight turn on approach to Kennedy International in NY! Talk about dinosaurs, but hey, whatever works!

 

Here is a link to some very serious historical information about Airway Beacons , including some pictures of arrows! I suspect at least some (most?) of these must have had surveyed locations, probably with associated "Benchmarks" (likely triangulation stations, not Bench Marks). Collision of two hobbies (Benchmarking & Airway Beacons). Interesting. Thanks, Artman!

Edited by Klemmer & TeddyBearMama
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