Lighthouse Service Bulletin



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The following text is copied from the Department of Commerce Lighthouse Service Bulletin, Vol. III, No. 37, Washington. 
Dated January 3, 1927



The Air Commerce Act of 1926, provides for the encouragement and use of aircraft in commerce, under the Secretary of Commerce. The work has been placed under the immediate supervision of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, William P. MacCracken, Jr., and four divisions have been established: Registration, Research, Airways, and Information.

In accord with the intent of Congress, that existing facilities of the department should be used so far as practicable in carrying out the provisions of the Air Commerce Act, the Airways Division has been set up as a part of the Lighthouse Service, and F.C. Hingsburg, on October 1, 1926, was appointed Chief Engineer, Airways Division. Mr. Hingsburg was previously Superintendent of Lighthouses on general duty, and has been connected with the Lighthouse Service since 1911.

Under the general supervision of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, the Airways Division will examine the airways, select emergency landing fields and beacon sites, erect structures, install the navigational aids, and thereafter maintain them. These activities are being carried out through some expansion of the Lighthouse Service, with additions as needed to its personnel, and under its district organization.

The airways to be established during the fiscal year 1927, are primarily those required by the air transport companies engaged in carrying mail under contract with the Post Office Department. These and other companies are developing express and passenger traffic. The principal advantage of air transportation is the saving of time. In order to make the saving of time most effective, night flying is essential, and the air navigation facilities being established on airways primarily provide the necessary lighting for night flying for carrying out the mail schedules established by the Post Office Department.

There are 9,475 miles of airways now in operation or proposed for the near future, of which 2,041 miles of the transcontinental airways are already lighted. Over 1,100 miles of additional lighted airways will be established during the calendar year 1928. Along the airways between airports, revolving searchlight beacons are established approximately 10 miles apart, and emergency landing fields are 40 to 50 acres in extent, having suitable runways of not less than 1,500 feet in length for the landing of aircraft. The fields are lighted by boundary lights spaced approximately 300 feet apart, showing the outline of the field from the air. A cable is carried around the field, furnishing electric current to the 15-watt lamps in the boundary standards. Red lights are mounted on all obstructions and green lights are used to show the best approach to the field. An internally lighted wind cone mounted on the airway beacon structure shows the direction and velocity of the wind. The airway beacon consists of a 24-inch revolving searchlight with 1,000-watt lamp, showing candlepower of approximately 2,000,000, with a flash every 10 seconds. The searchlight beacons are mounted on 50-foot skeleton windmill type towers and are automatic in operation by the use of a sun relay, where commercial power is available. Otherwise, farm lighting sets are used for generating electric current. The day mark consists of a concrete arrow 53 feet long pointing the direction along the airway. Each airway route carries a number, which is painted, conspicuously on one side of the gable roof of powerhouse buildings. Each beacon is numbered consecutively, and the designated number is likewise painted to show from the air for the identification of the structure. Part-time caretakers are employed locally to operate the engine generating sets and for the maintenance of emergency fields.

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