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Aug 28, 2013, 10:25 PM
Nose down, you're gonna stall
rowdyjoe's Avatar
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US Aviation History - Giant Concrete Arrows

Giant Concrete Arrows... Just in case you missed it on the first go around…

This Really Exists:
Giant Concrete Arrows That
Point Your Way Across America...

Every so often, usually in the vast deserts of the American Southwest,
a hiker or a backpacker will run across something puzzling:
a large concrete arrow, as much as seventy feet in length,
sitting in the middle of scrub-covered nowhere.

What are these giant arrows? Some kind of surveying mark?
Landing beacons for flying saucers? Earth’s turn signals?

No, it's...
The Transcontinental Air Mail Route.

On August 20, 1920, the United States opened its first coast-to-coast
airmail delivery route, just 60 years after the Pony Express closed up shop.

There were no good aviation charts in those days,
so pilots had to eyeball their way across the country using landmarks.
This meant that flying in bad weather was difficult,
and night flying was just about impossible.

The Postal Service solved the problem with the world’s first ground-based
civilian navigation system: a series of lit beacons that would extend from
New York to San Francisco. Every ten miles, pilots would pass a bright yellow
concrete arrow. Each arrow would be surmounted by a 51-foot steel tower
and lit by a million-candlepower rotating beacon.
(A generator shed at the tail of each arrow powered the beacon.)

Now mail could get from the Atlantic to the Pacific not in a matter of weeks,
but in just 30 hours or so.

Even the dumbest of air mail pilots, it seems, could follow a series of bright
yellow arrows straight out of a Tex Avery cartoon. By 1924, just a year after
Congress funded it, the line of giant concrete markers stretched from Rock Springs,
Wyoming to Cleveland, Ohio. The next summer, it reached all the way to New York,
and by 1929 it spanned the continent uninterrupted, the envy of postal systems worldwide.

Radio and radar are, of course, infinitely less cool than a concrete
Yellow Brick Road from sea to shining sea, but I think we all know how
this story ends. New advances in communication and navigation technology made
the big arrows obsolete, and the Commerce Department decommissioned the beacons
in the 1940s. The steel towers were torn down and went to the war effort.
But the hundreds of arrows remain. Their yellow paint is gone,
their concrete cracks a little more with every winter frost,
and no one crosses their path much, except for coyotes and tumbleweeds.

But they’re still out there.


Last edited by rowdyjoe; Aug 28, 2013 at 10:31 PM. Reason: add link
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Nov 16, 2013, 08:27 PM
Nose down, you're gonna stall
rowdyjoe's Avatar
Thread OP

UAV carrier ops - WOW !

Dec 03, 2013, 09:49 PM
Nose down, you're gonna stall
rowdyjoe's Avatar
Thread OP

Beutiful Day for Flying

I went to the field this afternoon and enjoyed about 3 hrs of flying fun before the sun got too low. The wind was light and variable from the SSW and was really non-existent. There were 150cc birds all the way down to an electric stik and none had trouble with the wind. The temp was near perfect and made for a thoroughly enjoyable day. This was one of those days that makes me wish I had gotten there a lot earlier. The lake was like glass this afternoon.
Even our neighbors, the deer, came out a bit early and were cavorting about playing their mating game. Yes, it's that time of year for them and I hope we have a big crop of bambies come spring. They really are beautiful and they seem to be getting friendlier ...or at least less wary of us.
Gary Nelson said he saw Wile E. Coyote cross the road as he was coming in. I guess the great weather brings out all of the neighbors.
I saw a moderately sized flight/flock of Geese headed south. Their formations look great.
It was a great day for flying or just being outdoors. I hope you were able to find a way to enjoy some of it.

Dec 03, 2013, 10:36 PM
Registered User
I wish I had been there with you. These last two days have been outstanding for being outside doing nearly anything.
Dec 06, 2013, 03:05 AM
Nose down, you're gonna stall
rowdyjoe's Avatar
Thread OP

Ever Wonder Where ARFs Came From?

....and we thought ARFs were a relatively new thing.

Uncrating and Field Assembly of the P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter - 1944 (40 min 26 sec)

Dec 06, 2013, 03:13 AM
Nose down, you're gonna stall
rowdyjoe's Avatar
Thread OP

Another Great Day for Flying

I'm not trying to rub it in but, yesterday (Wed) was almost a carbon copy of Tuesday. Very light winds and warm temps. The wind switched around to come from out of the north in the late afternoon so, we just swapped ends of the field and continued our fun. I doubt the wind ever reached 10mph during the entire time I was there. There were some high thin clouds but, the sun was out all day with one brief exception late in the afternoon.
We had a nice sized group at the field and the sky was rarely empty. Most folks left around 4:30 but, I stayed until the sun went down usual.
Great weather, great flying, and great fellowship. It can't get much better than that.

Dec 06, 2013, 03:57 AM
Crash 'em if you got 'em
waytooslow's Avatar
Same here up in Grapevine at the 114th. Had the field pretty much to myself most the day.

I had the pleasure of flying at your field in November for the all electric fly in. Hope to get out there this spring, just such a long drive for me. Great facility!
Dec 06, 2013, 07:33 PM
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rowdyjoe's Avatar
Thread OP
Well, come on down. You know you're welcome.

Dec 29, 2013, 09:59 PM
Registered User

Field Video

Mounted a camera on my B-25 Panchito. The video was taken on 28 Dec 2013. Camera audio is not working. Click on the link.
Dec 30, 2013, 03:45 PM
I'm just a 2.5D Pilot
rickgode's Avatar
That's awesome Woody! I loved watching the retract go up and the gear door close!

Now all you need is a ground station & On Screen Display like mine:

FPV (5 min 39 sec)

Jan 01, 2014, 09:46 AM
Registered User
Do a little test. bind a receiver to your transmitter and with everything working fine try turning off your transmitter and then turning it back on and see how long it takes to begin operating again. What I have found is that the DSM2 modulated radios take from 5 to 10 seconds to find and recognize their signal. I do not fly that high to be able to survive if I get blocked even for an instant. (especially over the trees) I have performed the same test on my Futaba and other FHSS modulated radios and found that the find their signals and begin working again almost instantly. I shared this with several of the people that I flew with at Hawks and found that they had the same result. I know that an awful lot of people fly Spektrum with no problems at all, but I like to keep "Murphy" as far away from me as possible. Hope this helps.
Jan 02, 2014, 01:54 AM
Nose down, you're gonna stall
rowdyjoe's Avatar
Thread OP
I've done that little test dozens of times and my HItec Aurora 9 re-acquires almost instantly. I'm very satisfied with my choice in radio gear. I haven't had any of the issues I was having with the Spektrum gear ...not even a hick-up. (knock on wood).

Jan 04, 2014, 10:50 PM
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rowdyjoe's Avatar
Thread OP

Bad Merchant - BEWARE

I recently had a bad experience with an on-line store called Sonic Electric. I ordered a set of RC Lander retracts and I discovered one unit was bad after installation. I had tested them before installation and both worked flawlessly. However, after cycling them 10 or 15 times while setting end-points/travel, one unit died. I contacted the store via email and was told they needed to see a video. I sent the video and did not hear from them for 2 days. When I sent a followup email I was told by "Danny" that they would not send a replacement and that he would have to get permission from the mfg to refund my money.

i have filed a complaint via PayPal and will follow-up to ensure the dishonesty of this store is well known.

Jan 12, 2014, 09:16 AM
Registered User

Crash Pictures

Since there is this unofficial contest every year for best crash, I think the topic needs its own thread.
Jan 12, 2014, 09:22 AM
Registered User
Here's my entry from yesterday. It was a 35 year old BUSA Phaeton with an OS .46FX flown with Airtronics radio gear. I had a glitch that made it dive straight in at full throttle. The most likely culprit was a battery failure, but since the battery was demolished in the crash there's no way to be sure.

Last edited by jester_s1; Jan 13, 2014 at 09:13 AM.

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