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CAM #25 Miami-Atlanta


United States Congressional serial set, 9509. page 519; Contract for Air Mail Service,

Route No. C.A.M. 25; Contract made 21st day of December 1927 to Pitcairn Aviation (Inc.); Route: Atlanta, Georgia via Jacksonville, to Miami, Florida and return.

United States Congressional serial set. 9509., Pages 513-516; ROUTE CERTIFICATE AIR MAIL SERVICE

Pitcairn Aviation (Inc.), of Philadelphia, Pa., a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, on the 21st day of December, 1927, duly entered into a contract with the United States to transport the air mail by aircraft on a route from Atlanta, Ga., via certain designated points, to Miami, Fla., and return, and that by order of the Postmaster General under date of January 27, 1930, the authority of the department was granted for a change in the name of this contractor so as to be Eastern Air Transport (Inc.), of Brooklyn, N. Y., hereinafter called the carrier, the said contract presently being in full force and effect.


Airways (Airways are based South to North and West to East); CAM #25 Covers

Air Commerce Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 19, April 1, 1930, pages 5-8


On April 1, a new schedule was inaugurated on the Miami-Atlanta airway and Atlanta-New York airway, which permitted the continuous movement of the South American mail by air from its point of entry to the United States at Miami to destinations north and east. Under the old schedule which called for departure of the northbound mail plane from Miami at 12:30 p. m., the South American mail which arrived in Miami at 4:45 p. m., either had to lay over until 12:30 the next day or leave on the same evening by train, in either case reaching New York for morning delivery on the second day after reaching the United States.

The noon departure from Miami not only failed to expedite the South American mail, but it was much too early for the collection of the bulk of the mail from Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and other Florida cities. The Airways Division of the Department of Commerce, therefore, undertook to light the airway from Miami to Jacksonville in order to permit improved mail service in Florida to become effective during the Florida tourist season of the past winter; and succeeded in installing sufficient lighting to permit the change in schedule by February 1, of this year, the decision to postpone this change being due to other circumstances.


     With the lighting of the Miami to Jacksonville route the four corners of the United States are now tied together by lighted airways. The air traveler may fly from Miami to Seattle on a reasonably direct course over 3,422 miles of lighted airways, affording prepared landing places at average intervals of 30 miles; with powerful airway beacons at least every 10 miles to keep him on the right course throughout the entire distance.

In the course of such a journey, the traveler would pass over Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Waycross (Ga.), Macon, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Evansville (Ind.), St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Joseph (Mo.), Omaha, North Platte (Nebr.), Cheyenne, Rock Springs (Wyo.), Salt Lake City, Boise (Idaho), Pasco (Wash.) and Portland (Oreg.), to Seattle. From Pasco to Portland, the route is not yet lighted, but work is under way and lighting will be completed within a few months. The traveler could, however, reach Seattle entirely over lighted airways by proceeding from Salt Lake City to San Francisco, thence north to Seattle.

New England and southern California are connected by airways over which the traveler may proceed from Los Angeles over Las Vegas, Nevada, Salt Lake City, Rock Springs, Cheyenne, North Platte, Omaha, Des Moines, Iowa City, Chicago, South Bend, Toledo, Cleveland, New York City, and Hartford, to Boston, a total distance of 2,974 miles.


It might be expected that an airways project in the State of Florida would present some novelties. The most striking of these is, perhaps, the 100 per cent municipal cooperation in providing landing fields. The utilization of existing marine lighthouses for airway beacons is distinctly new. And the dredging of foundation holes for the beacon towers was something which the construction force had not anticipated.

The lighting installation presented no great difficulties from an engineering standpoint. The country is very flat, the highest altitude being approximately 65 feet in the vicinity of Jupiter; and nature has so marked the course that with very little assistance from man it is practically foolproof. The configuration of the Florida east coast is very regular. Throughout almost the entire distance from St. Augustine to Miami lies a barrier beach upon which are located the resort towns of Pablo Beach, Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Palm Beach, and Miami Beach. While this barrier beach is connected with the mainland at several points, it is separated for over 90 per cent of its length by inlets or lagoons, variously known as North River, Matanzas River, Indian River, Banana River, Lake Worth, and Biscayne Bay. West of this line of Inlets lies a narrow strip of mainland upon which all the cities of the Florida east coast are located and upon which the railroad and the Dixie Highway have been established. To the west of this narrow strip lie the Everglades in the south half, and the St. Johns River marshes in the north half of the peninsula.

So the pilot flying over this route at night has the narrow strip of mainland with a string of city lights, the automobile headlights on the Dixie Highway, the signal and train lights of the railroad, all serving as landmarks on his course; with the unlighted Atlantic Ocean and its phosphorescent shore line on the east and the dead black of the Everglades and marshes on the west definitely marking, by their very blankness, the limits of the airway. Consequently, it has been possible to light this route more than satisfactorily with fewer than the standard number of lights.

The work of obtaining intermediate landing fields was greatly facilitated by the energetic cooperation of the Florida municipalities. As a result of the developments of 1925-26, all land within the zone possible for airways use had been subdivided and sold in house lots or 5-acre farm tracts. The securing of licenses from 10 to 100 owners for each intermediate landing field seemed almost a hopeless task.

With this difficulty in mind, a representative of the Airways Division was sent to Florida in February, 1929, to see what could be done to interest the cities in obtaining and preparing suitable fields which might be lighted later on by the cities, or might be licensed to the department as intermediate landing fields, in case the lack of aeronautical interest or finances prevented their lighting and operation as public airports. The interest aroused was sufficient so that when the actual selection of sites was undertaken not a single landing field had to be licensed direct from its multitude of owners.


The departure from Miami at 5:45 p. m., makes it possible to reach Palm Beach in daylight, except for a few weeks in December and January. For this reason, few beacons were considered necessary in this 70-mile stretch. The first was installed adjacent to the municipal airport at Fort Lauderdale.

The Hillsboro Lighthouse at Hillsboro Inlet, near Deerfield, serves as the second airway beacon. At West Palm Beach the Junior Chamber of Commerce provided an excellent unobstructed landing place about 2 miles west and 2 miles south of the city. One of the airways beacons is located adjacent to this airport. A projected airport in the Riviera section about 3 miles north of the city of West Palm Beach and about 6 miles from the Junior Chamber of Commerce airport is expected to be ready for service next winter. The Jupiter Lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet and a standard airways beacon at Olympia about equally subdivide the space between the Palm Beach airport and Stuart, where a standard airways beacon has been set up adjacent to the Kreuger airport, which is located about 1 mile east of the plaza on a broad paved highway.

At Fort Pierce the municipal airport 4 miles southwest of the city was considered a logical location for an airways beacon; and at Vero Beach, where the Tropics end, the first intermediate landing field was established. This field is a tract of approximately 100 acres, a mile and a half from the plaza, which was leased by the city. When the route was surveyed this tract was covered with a moderately heavy growth of pine and palmetto. The field was cleared and graded by the city, and the surrounding timber has been removed to such an extent that no obstruction lights are expected to be found necessary about the field. Beacons at Roseland and Valkaria intervene between Vero Beach and the Melbourne airport. The city of Melbourne has maintained an excellent airport some 6 miles west of town on the cross State highway for the past two years, which has been extensively used by the airmail pilots as a refueling point. The landing area is so large and the surroundings so entirely free of obstructions that the addition of a beacon provides almost all the light that is necessary to make this field available for night landings. A beacon is located at Pinedo and the next intermediate field at Cocoa.

The city of Cocoa secured a 160-acre tract about a mile northwest of the center of town, and cleared and graded the south 80 acres of it, which has been licensed to the department as an intermediate landing field. In preparation for the ultimate extension of the airport the pine timber on the north 80 acres was all cut, so the field Is now clear of all obstructions except on the southwest corner, where the beacon is located. Another standard beacon is found at Delespine, and the next intermediate field is at Titusville. Approximately 2 miles from the square the county located and purchased a tract of 160 acres, covered with a heavy pine growth. The entire 160 acres are being cleared and prepared by county convicts. The south i)0 acres are now available for use, trees on the approaches have been cut, and by the end of April it is anticipated that the entire 160 acres will be available for landings without serious obstruction, except on the west boundary, where high-tension transmission lines have been marked with obstruction lights.

A standard airways beacon is located at Oak Hill and the next beacon is the Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse north of New Smyrna. At Daytona Beach a standard airways beacon has been installed upon a tract of ground which had been selected for development into the Daytona Beach airport. The airport when developed is expected to be the junction point for the Tampa mail line and, consequently, will be completely lighted by the city. The next airway beacon, at Flagler Beach, is located adjacent to the tract which Is to be developed as the Flagler Beach airport. At the present time enough land has been cleared and levelled to provide a fairly satisfactory emergency landing field for airplanes of moderate size.

North of this point the airway leaves ultramodern Florida to enter the Florida of Ponce de Leon and his contemporaries. The next beacon will be found opposite an old Spanish fort guarding the entrance to the Matanzas River which, although in an excellent state of preservation, is said to be unrecorded in the history of Spanish Florida. The last intermediate field on the route has been established at St. Augustine—America's oldest city. The St. Augustine intermediate field is on a tract of pine land which was leased, cleared, and prepared by the city. Because of the density of the pine growth and the limited funds available, this is at present a runway field, but the runways are adequate and the city plans to develop all of a tract half a mile square which has been made available for landing-field purposes. But one beacon, at Bayard, is found between St. Augustine and the Jacksonville airport.


Installation of the lights on this route was a comparatively simple proposition, as all sites were readily accessible on paved roads, and no difficulties were encountered from freezing and stormy weather. The automobile mileage from site to site throughout the route is scarcely 25 per cent greater than the airplane mileage. Sinking the foundation holes for beacon towers was the only problem the lighting contractor was called upon to solve. All of the beacons are located upon sandy soil; and at the very first site the contractor encountered water about 2 feet below the ground surface, with the result that the hole filled in as fast as he could dig it out. Very shortly it was discovered that the 6-foot depth required for the anchor legs would never be reached by digging, so the problem was solved by resorting to the practice of dredging A box or caisson was fitted into the hole at the top. A hose connected to the intake of a gasoline engine-driven pump was thrust into the box; and as the water and sand were sucked out the box sank until the required depth was reached. At first an effort was made to keep the hole dry while the tower footing was set up and tamped in place with crushed stone, but after a little experience it was found that by lowering a man into the hole with the tower leg where he was about breast deep in water, the crushed stone could be worked in or out under the bedplate very nicely by foot power. At most of the sites this method was used in setting the anchor legs of the towers. At a few points where a quicksand like soil was encountered, concrete to the depth of 6 inches or more was poured into the bottom of the caisson for the tower legs to rest upon.


The provision of radio facilities on this airway is the major problem which must be solved in its development. The semitropical conditions experienced the year round give rise to a very large amount of static which is expected to interfere seriously with the standard type of radio service furnished by the Department of Commerce. The advisability of using short-wave transmission at the radio stations on this route is being considered. Radio broadcasts of weather in- formation are expected to be provided by radio communications stations at least two points along the Florida east coast. Radiobeacons are proposed for installation at Daytona and West Palm Beach. The southerly radio course from West Palm Beach will pass over Miami and intersect with the northerly course of the Key West beacon at Key Largo, thus providing a continuously marked radio course from Habana through Miami to Palm Beach. The northerly course from the West Palm Beach beacon will intersect with the southerly course from the Daytona beacon at Melbourne and the northerly course from Daytona will reach Jacksonville nicely.


Air Navigation Map No. 126: Jacksonville, Fla. to Atlanta, Ga.

Sectional Aeronautical Charts: Jacksonville; Orlando; Miami

CAM # 1  |  CAM # 2  |  CAM # 3  |  CAM # 4  |  CAM # 5  |  CAM # 6  |  CAM # 7  |  CAM # 8  | CAM # 9  | CAM # 10
CAM #11  |  CAM #12  |  CAM #13  |  CAM #14  |  CAM #15  |  CAM #16  |  CAM #17  |  CAM #18  | CAM #19  | CAM #20
CAM #21  |  CAM #22  |  CAM #23  |  CAM #24  |  CAM #25  |  CAM #26  |  CAM #27  |  CAM #28  | CAM #29  | CAM #30
CAM #31 CAM #32  |  CAM #33  |  CAM # 34