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Maintenance Minute - Transcontinental Airway System

Posted 107 days ago ago by jhadmin

The next time you run across a pilot who complains about the navigation equipment in his aircraft — right after he enters his coordinates into the panel-mounted Garmin 430, the backup windshield-RAM-mounted Garmin 695, and the backup-backup glare-shield-mounted iPhone — ask him what he would have done during the time of the Transcontinental Airway System.


Back in the day, to aid real aviators, the government placed concrete arrows and lighted beacons on the ground to guide U.S. Air Mail pilots along their route. No GPS, RNAV, ADF. Nothing but a map, a mag compass, and looking out the window for the next arrow. I wonder how the new breed would do?

Now if your pilot flies offshore where surface-based concrete arrows were not an option, you can always bring up LORAN-C. And before LORAN there was “looking for smoke” and watching the white caps for course corrections. But then again, those were also the days of gauge runs requiring 150 takeoffs a day. Glad I stayed on the rig!

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