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1929 radio weather broadcasts help pilots

1929 radio weather broadcasts help pilots

August 1929: New $20,000 Federal Airway radio station in Glendale with one of its 128-foot towers. Hourly weather reports are broadcast to pilots and airports.

This photo accompanied an article by Terrel DeLapp in the Aug. 4, 1929, Los Angeles Times reporting:

Like ships at sea plowing their way safely through fogged seas, guided by radio flashes from Federal short stations, airplanes winging their way above Southern California now are kept informed of weather conditions for 500 miles around by the cracking messages shot from the new mountain-side Glendale airway radio station of the United States Department of Commerce.

Every hour, night and day, as the minute hand of the clock points straight up, a giant 2000-watt generator whines in the Glendale radio lighthouse, one of four operators adjusts a 900-meter broadcasting set and sends his voice to planes and airdromes in this typical message:

“This is Airways Communication Station, Glendale, broadcasting Los Angeles to San Francisco airway weather information. It is now 1 p.m., local standard time.

“General conditions, Glendale, hazy; Saugus, clear; Lebec, clear; Livingstone, clear and light haze; Livermore, broken high clouds; Oakland, overcast; Mills Field, broken strata cumulus; Concord, broken overcast and haze.

“Ceilings unlimited at all stations except Oakland, 1200; Mills Field, 1400; Concord, 4000. Visibility unlimited at all stations except Glendale, three miles; Saugus and Bakersfield, five miles; Livingstone, six miles and Concord, eight miles.”

Thus the Pacific Coast flyer, either already in the air with his radio headset adjusted, or on the ground preparing to hop off on a cross-country flight, knows exactly what to expect in the way of weather and where to expect it. …

The local station has been on the air only a few days, and is the latest link in the chain of broadcasting points down the Pacific Coast from Seattle, with intermediate stations at Medford Or., and Oakland. These stations form the top of a “T” on the west coast, the main stem of the system spanning the nation from San Francisco to New York.

Thirty-five stations now are operating on the national hook-up to make the airways safe at a cost to the Department of Commerce of $700,000. …

Miles Field is now San Francisco International Airport.

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1 Comment

  1. March 20, 2014, 9:59 am

    Love that roadster, funny way for it to be parked, would guess it to be an early-20s Dodge. Where__exactly was the station? I don't recognize any landmarks in the picture…would presume that is some aprt of Glendale, looking south or southwest? and the sedan, parked a little more traditionally, does not show me enough to identify…great picture, anyway, thanks for sharing! Yours, Nashnut


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