Airmail Arrow Beacon – Southwest of Winnemucca, NV

Transcontinental Airmail Arrow Beacon Near Winnemucca, NV

Yesterday I flew over a 1920s concrete arrow marker, part of a network of beacons installed in the 1920s to help pilots navigate U.S. Transcontinental flights at night. Before the invention of radar this was the only way for airmail pilots to fly around-the-clock. The Pony Express route was where this one is – near Winnemucca, NV. In the middle of the arrow there would have stood a 50 ft tower with nearly 1,000,000 candlepower rotating light, visible for over 10  miles. During the height of the depression in the 1930s the funding program to maintain the beacons was de-funded. During WWII the beacons were shut off for fear of assisting any potential invading enemy planes. When radar and radio communications made the beacons obsolete years later, many were torn down or abandoned. More than 500 beacon lights were put into operation, the last one was turned off in 1973.

Location: 40°35’47.13″N, 118°11’59.30″W

Air Mail Arrow Beacon from the Transcontinental System in the 1920s
Air Mail Arrow Beacon from the Transcontinental System from the 1920s – Near Winnemucca, NV

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