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blank 06/27/15 08:42AM Aviation History, navigation arrows, Readers Pics

70ft Cement Arrows

All over the country, 70-foot concrete arrows can be found in remote locations. Follow them, and they’ll point you out of the desert.
70 Foot Arrow Navigation

They come courtesy of the US Postal Service’s Air Force and will point you all the way across the continental United States .   
70 Foot Arrow

They were constructed in 1924 to guide postal planes in the right direction as they carried mail from coast to coast.
70 Foot Arrow
These old planes couldn’t rely on radio as much at the time, so they used these arrows, along with beacon towers, to navigate.
70 Foot Arrow
70 Foot Arrow

The arrows and beacons bisect the United States from San Francisco to New York City.
70 Foot Arrow


The towers were 50 feet tall and fixed with gas lights that could be seen from 10 miles away, in order to help lost pilots find their way. This is a model of the arrows and towers in their heyday.
70 Foot Arrow

World War II brought new advances in radio technology that effectively made the towers and arrows system obsolete. The towers were mostly dismantled.
70 Foot Arrow
There has been an effort to restore and preserve some of them, however. Like this one in New Mexico complete with its generator shack.
70 Foot Arrow
This is a pretty cool piece of history, even if it was short lived. To think of those early postal pilots navigating like this from coast to coast is mind blowing.   
70 Foot Arrow
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