Air Transport World

Lou's corner. (air traffic control history)

Lou's Corner Fifty years ago when the U.S. government assumed control of all air traffic control services and facilities, there were only six airport control towers; now there are 400. There was a coast-to-coast network of four-course radio ranges, airway rotating light beacons and some non-directional radio beacons. Low-frequency, static-plagued radio systems made clear and accurate communications difficult.

The 11 U.S. airlines flying a fleet of 272 Douglas DC-3, Boeing 247 and Stinson Tri-motor type transports carried 1,020,931 air passengers in 1936. U.S. carriers in 1985 carried more than one million passengers daily in 3,500 aircraft.

Recently, several old-timers of the air traffic control system recanted to ATW several fascinating facts. …

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