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CAM #30 Atlanta-Chicago

Atlanta GA-Chicago IL; awarded Interstate Air Lines; CAM #30 Covers

CAM #30 Airways (Airways are based South to North and West to East)

United States Congressional serial set. 9509. page 616; Contract for Mail Service, Route No. C.A.M. 30; Contract made 9th day of August 1928 to Interstate Airlines (Inc.); Route: Chicago, Illinois, via designated points, to Atlanta, Georgia and return.

Atlanta-Chicago Airway is made up of 3 sections:

Atlanta-Nashville section

Nashville-Terre Haute section

Terre Haute-Chicago section


Air Commerce Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 17, March 1, 1930, pages 4-6


Completion of the lighting installation on the Atlanta-Chattanooga section of the Atlanta-Chicago airway, early in March will add another link in the ever growing chain of airways. The lighting of this airway must be considered a major project both from the engineering standpoint and from the standpoint of its resultant effect on the air transport system of the United States.
Although the Atlanta-Chicago airmail line has been in operation for more than a year, it has not rendered maximum service due to the necessity of flying on a daylight schedule. Thus the business mail of Chicago and vicinity, in order to be carried by air had to wait overnight in Chicago before starting, and to wait again in Atlanta overnight before delivery or forwarding on connecting airmail routes—requiring time equivalent to that of the San Francisco to New York service, for a distance of but 652 miles—although mail for the southeast accumulating in Chicago overnight was expedited appreciably.

The new schedule will call for departure from Chicago at 9.30 p. m. with arrival in Atlanta at 6 a. m. the next day.

Stops will be made at Terre Haute, Ind., Evansville, Ind., Nashville, Tenn., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

At Atlanta direct connection will be made for Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Birmingham, Mobile, and New Orleans.

A ship leaving St. Louis at about 10.30 p. m. will connect with the southbound ship from Chicago at Evansville. Northbound airplanes will leave Atlanta at 10 p.m., after arrival of ships from Miami and New Orleans, reaching St. Louis at 6 a. m. and Chicago at 6 a. m., in time to connect with westbound transcontinental planes carrying mail to all Pacific coast points in approximately 36 hours from Atlanta—the same as from New York.


Survey of this airway was commenced in the early fall of 1928, and was carried on throughout the winter of 1928-29 and the spring of 1929 in the face of obstacles imposed by difficult terrain, impassable roads, adverse weather conditions, and changing personnel. It is worthy of note that on a recent inspection trip over the southern half of this airway, one of the airways division engineers found it necessary to travel 112 miles to get by automobile from one beacon site to the next, distant but 10 miles as the airplane flies.

Early in the survey it was found that the straight-line course, dear to the hearts of pilots and radio engineers, was, to a high degree, impracticable; and that landing fields would have to be built, not found. Straight in the direct line of flight from Atlanta to Chattanooga, and about 25 miles from the former, loomed Kennesaw Mountain—a noted landmark, but an unpleasant neighbor for a pilot speeding with mail through darkness and low visibility.

Beyond Kennesaw Mountain, a stretch of some 50 miles in the Etowah, Cossawattee, and Conasauga River Valleys offered no particular problems. But in the vicinity of Calhoun, Ga., the airline course crossed a 40-mile stretch of rugged, wooded mountain ridges offering no chance for a successful forced landing, day or night. For this reason, the airway detours slightly to the north, to Dalton, and crosses these ridges through the gaps cut by Chickamauga Creek. The intermediate fields in this section were located at Acworth, close by Kennesaw Mountain, Adairsville, located in the middle of the valley, and Dalton, at the edge of the mountains. The preparation of a suitable field at Acworth required grading to the extent of 10,000 yards, with retaining headers and drainage spillways at points of heavy fills. The only 4-way landing field discoverable in the vicinity of Dalton required 20,000 yards of earthwork to reduce grades to those upon which an airplane may be expected to land intact, and the installation of a culvert of two 30-inch corrugated-iron pipes under one of the runways to carry off flood waters from an area of approximately (500 acres south of the field.

The air-line course from Chattanooga to Nashville passes directly over Signal Mountain, of Civil War fame, and thence over a high, heavily wooded divide for two-thirds of the 115 miles of distance, which offers no landing places, roads, or other facilities for airway maintenance. Consequently, the airway bears westward, between Signal Mountain and Lookout Mountain, cutting across the bends of the Tennessee River to Jasper, Tenn., where the first intermediate field is located; thence in a straight line to Murfreesboro and Nashville.

The Jasper field was a " find " in this section, requiring only surfacing in preparation for aircraft use, but necessitating the relocation of a mile and a half of high-tension transmission line, at considerable expense, for safety.

The next field is located at Tullahoma, Tenn., on the National Guard encampment. The expense of its surface preparation is being borne by the city. At Murfreesboro, the Interstate Airlines airport and operating base " Tennessee Sky Harbor" takes the place of an intermediate field. Approximately 70 of the 135 miles of airline course, Nashville to Evansville, lies over a rough, heavily wooded divide between the valleys containing Clarksville, Tenn., Hopkinsville and Madisonville, Ky., on the west, and Springfield, Tenn. Russellville and Greenville, Ky., on the east. The latter course was chosen, after considerable study from the air, and conference with all the interstate pilots flying this section, as the more practicable. The intermediate field at Springfield was rendered usable with 3,000 cubic yards of grading, construction of some retaining headers to prevent washing out in heavy rains, and cutting of several acres of timber to clear approaches. At Russellville, in addition to clearing of approaches by removal of timber and relocation of pole lines, it was necessary to perform a similar amount of grading, which, however, consisted largely of rock. The conditioning of the Beech Grove (Ky.) field was similar to that at Greenville; but at Beech Grove, Ky., in the valley of the Green River, it was necessary to lay 1,000 feet of tile drain and to construct 6,000 feet of intercepting ditches to render the field satisfactorily free of water in wet weather. Field conditioning has, in all cases, been done by contract, supervised by the engineers who made the topographic surveys, prepared the estimates and specifications, and issued the contract proposals.

The work of field conditioning has been in progress for about 10 months. All fields are now usable in emergencies except the Dalton. Ga., field, which is about half finished. Because of the heavy rainfall prevalent in this part of the country, it will be necessary to seed all the fields to sod producing crops to prevent washouts which would otherwise render them useless within a year or two.

From Evansville, the airway to St. Louis. 162 miles, and the remainder of the Chicago route, through Vincennes, Terre Haute, and Lafayette, Ind., then jointly with the Cincinnati-Chicago airway direct to Cicero airport, lies in typical Middle West territory and presented no difficult problems in sur- vey and construction. This portion of the airway has been lighted for the past five months. Because of the difficulties encountered in the survey of the airway south of Evansville. the contracts for installation of lighting equipment could not be let until early summer of 1929, throwing some of the construction work into the late fall and the current winter; with resulting delay from inclement weather and impassable roads.

Due to the widespread distribution of electric power in this region, it was possible to secure commercial electric current for a surprisingly large number of the field and beacon sites. But many long pole-line extensions had to be built, some on private rights of way which proved difficult to secure, and for this reason some delay was encountered in extension of electric service. In addition, considerable delay was encountered in obtaining reasonable power rates for a number of the sites. However, as the result of steady pressure, all these difficulties were ironed out one by one so that lights on the last section to be completed were available for use by February 15 of this year. (1930)


Original Air Navigation Maps Covering this Route

1933 Air Corps Map No. 37; Cincinnati, Ohio & Louisville, Ky. to St. Louis, Mo


1933 Air Corps Map No. 52; Dayton, OH to Belleville, IL

1931 Airway Map No. 143; Atlanta, Ga. to Nashville, Tenn

1931 Airway Map No. 144; Nashville, Tenn. to Evansville, Ind.




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