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Flight Service History

  FSS History
Class Photos
Facility Photos
Life Stories

Last updated 03/19/17

This page is dedicated to the history of the FAA Flight Service Station and contains various articles on the history of  Air Traffic Service and aviation.




  As time permits, historical articles, photos, and other aviation related material will be added to this site. Much of the information on this site has been donated by it's readers.
Donations will go towards software, outsourcing costs, hosting service, and miscellaneous requirements to collect and maintain this large archive. Thank you for your consideration.
1920 to 1955 facility directory of all Radio and FSS locations in the USA.
1920 to 1978 facility directory plus commission/decommission dates.
1959 CS/T facility directory of all Combined Station/Tower facilities.
1964 Flight Service (FSS) facility directory of all FSS locations in the USA.
Current Flight Service (FSS) directory.  Compare the number of past FSS facilities with the present.

Flight Service (FSS) Facility Photos.  
View photos of Flight Service Station facilities from 1920 to our present day.  Submit photos to display on this site. 

Flight Service (FSS) Academy Class Photos.
View FSS class graduation photos from 1970 to present.

    Real Life Stories
Read life stories about other peoples history and experiences.

History of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, Airway Beacon, Site 31/32.
A wonderful document (PDF format) written and produced by Betty Jean Cruickshank and prepared by Ann M. Kreiser 2007, in memory of Betty Jean's husband, Edwin M. Cruickshank.  "My father, Edwin M. Cruickshank, began employment with the Department of Commerce Lighthouse Service on....."

    FAA Publications
Intercom, FAA World, FAA Aviation News, FAA Horizons, Journal of ATC Magazine, Bureau of Air Commerce, Alaskan Mukluk Telegraph and Trapline.

History of Eau Claire Flight Service Statioin.
An historical record of the Eau Claire Wisconsin Airways Communication Station that began operation on July 11, 1949 and later became the Eau Claire Wisconsin Flight Service Station until decommissioning on November 7, 1989.

History of Aviation in South Dakota
This page contains a chronological history of aviation in South Dakota from 1946 to 1994.  Data and photos submitted by Jim Anez, Huron AFSS.

View various historical maps.....

Data Communications
Teletype was first introduced to Air Traffic in 1928. By 1933, the national system was complete. Information on weather, aircraft positions, and airport conditions could be sent.....

RadioOpert.gif (78627 bytes) History of Flight Service
A history of the FAA Flight Service Station from its pre-conception to present day.

Development of Night Navigation
According to the technical forecasters of today, aircraft in the next century will finally lose their bonds to Earth. The use of the Global Positioning System......

Pilot Checklist History
The final phase of aircraft evaluations under U.S. Army specification 98-201 (July 18, 1934) was to begin. Three manufactures had submitted aircraft........

  Pilot Checklist History #2
On October 30, 1935, at Wright air Field in Dayton , Ohio , the U.S. Army Air Corps held a flight competition for airplane manufacturers vying to build its next-generation long-range bomber.  It wasn't supposed to be....
FAA History (abbreviated)
Our nation’s current system of air transportation - airlines, airports, and air traffic services - can trace its roots back to the original concept for exploring and .........

Brief History of FAA
This is an online version of the FAA Historical Chronology: Civil Aviation and the Federal Government, 1926-1996, published in 1998. This version contains the complete text of the chronology as well as eight of the nine appendixes. It omits certain introductory material.  By Ned Preston.

    Celebrating 75 Years of Federal Air Traffic Control
By: Theresa L. Kraus, Ph.D., FAA Historian, Federal Aviation Administration.

Lighthouse Service Bulletin
The Air Commerce Act of 1926, provides for the encouragement and use of aircraft in , under the Secretary of Commerce. The work has been placed under the.......

Wyoming Radio Beacon History
Wyoming's portion of the Salt Lake to Omaha Airway had 40 beacons spaced about 10 miles apart. The Wyoming portion of the airway closely followed the railroad.....


Research on the Airways Division, Bureau of Lighthouses
109 pages of historical information compiled by Mary Louise Clifford.

History of Navigation
Evolution of the United States National Airspace: The Move Towards Performance-Based Navigation
Flight Inspection History
The history of flight inspection in the United States

Steel Airway Beacon Tower Brochure, 1928 (large jpg file)
1928 brochure published by The International Derrick & Equipment Company. Page 2
First Airmail Letter.  View the timeline of this first 1929 date-stamped letter  delivered via airmail from Newark-Chicago-Newark.
    View Worldwide Air Traffic Flights (6MB).  View video of actual air traffic flights around the world over a 24 hour period.  Notice the shadow of the sun as it moves across the earth and the decrease in activity as night falls.  This is a 6MB file and will take 1-2 minutes to load with a fast connection.
    Four Course Radio Range Video
View a model of a four course radio range. The original four course ranges were very large because they operated in the very low frequency range, requiring 200 foot high towers with wide spacing.

More information on four course ranges can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_Freq...

    Current Aeronautical Charts
All data contained in these pdf files is published by the FAA/NACO and is compiled by Av8orCharts.  This website was created by pilots and for pilots. There is no charge to download these documents, all they ask is that you read and agree to our license agreement.  This site is free. Nothing is being sold. Note:  File sizes are large.
    Historical Map and Chart Collection
NOAA's extensive database of aeronautical, nautical, geodetic, topographic, and many other types of charts and maps.

    Nevada Historical Maps
Excellent display of historic maps from 1919 to present day, which includes airfields, beacons, etc.

    Library of Congress
A collection of
historic aeronautical charts in its Geography and Maps Division.
    Hawaii Aviation
An archive of historic photos and facts.

    Virtual Aircraft Museum
A link to a comprehensive collection of most aircraft ever built in the world.

    List of United States Airway Beacons
The following is an incomplete list of airway beacons drawn from the NGS database of survey marks.  Most if not all of these beacons no longer exist, but their locations and remains are of historical interest.
    Airfield Location Database
Extensive list of CAA and World War II airfields.

    Miscellaneous Airway Beacon Links
How it began
  Historical view of the airway lighted beacons
Airway Beacons: Montana's Night VFR Navigation System (pdf)
  Montana's Airway beacon history
Indian Mounds Park, Minnesota Airway Beacon Site
  A short history of the original Indian Mounds Park beacon, still standing today.


Can you help?
Do you have access to any old photos related to air traffic history, buildings, equipment, personnel, or other related historical data?  Help restore memories. Submit your life stories to be posted here.

Forward your photos by one of the byfollowing methods:

  1. Scan your photos (minimum 300dpi) and email them to Webmaster (depending on size).
  2. Scan your photos (minimum 300dpi) and mail me the electronic version on a CD/DVD disk or other device and I will return it to you. Contact Webmaster for address.
  3. Mail the original photos (see #2) and I will return them.
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