AIRMAIL CREATES AN INDUSTRY:
In 1921, the army deployed rotating beacons
in a line between Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, a distance of
about 80 miles. The beacons, visible to pilots at 10-second
intervals, made it possible to fly that route at night. The
Post Office Department took over the operation of the guidance
system in 1922, and by the end of 1923, had constructed similar
beacons between Chicago, Illinois and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Henderson replaced Otto Praeger when a new administration
took over in 1921. Henderson recognized the immediate need
for beacons, noting that "an airway exists on the ground,
not in the air." Congress approved funding for the lighting
of the transcontinental route in 1923. Work began first on
the Chicago – Cheyenne, Wyoming segment, where mail
airplanes would be most likely to be flying during the night.
Click here to learn more about Beacons.