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AIRMAIL CREATES AN INDUSTRY: Radio

Interestingly enough, some of the internal debate over the use of radio in mail aircraft came from a discussion over its purpose. Were airborne radios, if they could be made more reliable, to be used by pilots merely to inform their superiors of their location? Or to help transmit weather information to the pilots, helping them avoid potentially deadly storms. Finally, perhaps radios were more important as a method of communication between field operations, and not needed at all inside the aircraft.

Did you know?On August 20, 1920, the Post Office Department ordered radio stations installed at each of the planned transcontinental airmail fields. When possible, the service used already installed stations operated by the Navy. Field and division managers used radio to track aircraft and share weather information. The postal service even used it to forward messages considered too "urgent" for telegram or letter. But radios did not make their way into mail airplanes until 1925.

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Radio setup in DH4  
  Radio telegraph at a 1925 Airway Radio Station
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) Radio setup in DH4

(bottom right) Radio telegraph at a 1925 Airway Radio Station
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