Electronics World articles Popular Electronics articles QST articles Radio & TV News articles Radio-Craft articles Radio-Electronics articles Short Wave Craft articles Wireless World articles Google Search of RF Cafe website Sitemap Electronics Equations Mathematics Equations Equations physics Manufacturers & distributors LinkedIn Crosswords Engineering Humor Kirt's Cogitations RF Engineering Quizzes Notable Quotes Calculators Education Engineering Magazine Articles Engineering software RF Cafe Archives Magazine Sponsor RF Cafe Sponsor Links Saturday Evening Post NEETS EW Radar Handbook Microwave Museum About RF Cafe Aegis Power Systems Alliance Test Equipment Centric RF Empower RF ISOTEC Reactel RF Connector Technology San Francisco Circuits Anritsu Amplifier Solutions Anatech Electronics Axiom Test Equipment Berkeley Nucleonics Conduct RF Copper Mountain Technologies everything RF Exodus Advanced Communications Innovative Power Products KR Filters LadyBug Technologies PCB Directory Rigol TotalTemp Technologies Werbel Microwave Windfreak Technologies Wireless Telecom Group Withwave Sponsorship Rates RF Cafe Software Resources Vintage Magazines RF Cafe Software WhoIs entry for RF Cafe.com Thank you for visiting RF Cafe!
ConductRF Phased Matched RF Cables - RF Cafe

everythingRF RF & Microwave Parts Database - RF Cafe

Innovative Power Products Passive RF Products - RF Cafe

Please Support RF Cafe by purchasing my  ridiculously low−priced products, all of which I created.

RF Cascade Workbook for Excel

RF & Electronics Symbols for Visio

RF & Electronics Symbols for Office

RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF Workbench  (shareware)

T-Shirts, Mugs, Cups, Ball Caps, Mouse Pads

These Are Available for Free

Espresso Engineering Workbook™

Smith Chart™ for Excel

Werbel Microwave (power dividers, couplers)

Communications on the World's Greatest Airline
April 1945 Radio News

April 1945 Radio News
April 1945 Radio News Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio & Television News, published 1919-1959. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

The Douglas DC-3 revolutionized commercial air travel with its introduction in 1935, and the military version, the C-47 Skytrain (aka Dakota, aka Gooneybird), proved an invaluable workhorse for the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Without reliable and effective radio communications, the aircraft's success would have been much less. Companies like Bendix Radio led the way with rugged avionics that could take the harsh conditions of flight that include vibration, shock, pressure changes, and temperature variations. Replacement parts were usually not conveniently on-hand and the radio operator often needed to also be a trained electronics technician or engineer. "Necessity is the mother of invention," never proved truer than during wartime as evidenced by the many technology advances realized during the 1940s.

The DC-3 / C-47 is by far my favorite multi-engine passenger plane. I have plans printed and balsa purchased for a control line C-47 model that will have a 48" wingspan.

Communications on the World's Greatest Airline

C-47, called the workhorse of the Army Air Forces - RF Cafe

Radio-control tower at the 2nd Ferrying Group's base - RF CafeA C-47, called the workhorse of the Army Air Forces, flies over the radio-control tower at the 2nd Ferrying Group's base near Wilmington, Delaware.

By Lt. Col. Howard J. Haines, Adj. Gen. Ferrying Div., ATC

The Ferrying Division of the Air Transport Command has led the way in securing the most modernized air-ground communications system.

Take a C-47, converted for evacuation transport, put it in the air between New York and Nashville with a precious human cargo consisting of 10 litter patients and 8 ambulatory cases, all recently returned from battlefields of Europe and bound now for general hospitals near their homes, and you have a responsibility on your hands which demands constant air-ground communications between the pilot and radio stations along the route.

Remove the litters and the seats from the same plane, load it with vital engine parts which must be rushed from Newark to Miami, Florida where the "Fireball Express" will pick up the parts and carry them across Africa and Asia for delivery to the battle fronts, and you would not want your strictly nonexpendable crew, plane, and cargo to get lost on the way to Miami.

Put 21 seats back in the same plane, and fill them with highly trained pilots and navigators who have just ferried planes from Detroit to Long Beach, California and are now being returned to their home stations, and it would not be sound flying procedure to be out of touch with the plane for very long - the cargo would be much too valuable.

Do these three jobs every day of the week on 27 separate airlines, stretching up and down these United States for more than 86,000 miles, and in doing them fly 1,000,000 ton miles a month and evacuate more than 6,500 wounded fighters per month from coastal hospitals to hospitals near their homes, call the whole thing Military Air Transport, and you would be operating just about the world's greatest airline, and would need the world's finest air-ground radio communication system to make sure that your planes would be able to fly around storms, avoid mountains, and arrive at their destinations with clock-like regularity.

Late in May, 1944, the Ferrying Division of the Air Transport Command was called upon by its parent organization to do those three jobs. It was directed by Air Transport Command Headquarters in Washington, D. C., to take over eighteen air routes formerly operated by private airlines in the United States.

Radio check and instructions are obtained - RF Cafe

Radio check and instructions are obtained from control tower prior to takeoff.

The Ferrying Division, which is under the command of Brig. Gen. Bob. E. Nowland, command pilot and veteran of 26 years with the Army Air Forces, was eminently equipped from almost every standpoint to do the jobs.

From its Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, it could call upon nine Ferrying Groups for the planes and for the trained pilots and crews to operate them. Moreover, the fliers were superbly trained, for they had long been performing such missions of the Ferrying Division as ferrying planes from factories to the battle sectors, and had been flying foreign transport routes reaching across ocean and desert for thousands of miles, as far as India. There were mechanical crews handy to service the planes; almost every imaginable essential for successful operation of such a group of military air transport lines.

Only one thing was missing - adequate air-ground radio communications, facilities for talking from plane to ground comparable to those in use by the commercial airlines.

True, the Army Airways Communications System, which functions under the Air Communications Officer, who is a member of the Air Staff with Headquarters in Washington, had approximately 80 AACS stations set up throughout the country; but these stations were not equipped to provide the same service as the air-ground stations maintained by commercial airlines. Successful scheduled commercial operations hinge upon periodic voice communication from plane to ground and vice versa, keep the aircraft virtually in constant contact with the ground, and afford consequent flexibility of operation and a tremendous safety factor.

Radio technician of the 2nd Ferrying Group - RF Cafe

Radio technician of the 2nd Ferrying Group tunes up a transmitter unit.

Brigadier General Bob E. Nowland - RF Cafe

Brigadier General Bob E. Nowland, Comm. General of the Ferrying Division of the ATC.

There was only one solution if the Army Air Forces was going to operate efficient military air transport lines within the United States. The Ferrying Division, designated to do so, would have to lead the way to securing modernized air-ground communications for the Army, comparable in every way to those used by the finest commercial air lines.

The writer, who has the title of Adjutant General for the Ferrying Division, but is also Director of Communications and Signal Officer and still likes to think of the days when he was radio "ham" W2EIS, drew the job of forming a sort of flying wedge, to use old time football parlance, which could smash through any potential lines of delay and secure modern air-ground communications in a hurry.

Carrying the football analogy a yard or two further, it had been possible, fortunately, to get the wedge force in shape with some "Spring training," during which fundamentals were implanted which would lead to a speedy drive to the goal of modern air-ground communications.

On March 9, 1944, a board from the office of the Air Communications Officer had visited Ferrying Division Headquarters. The board was endeavoring to determine the communications requirements of the entire Army Air Forces.

The members of the board were told that the Ferrying Division needed Army Airways Communications System air-ground stations which would maintain the same standard of efficiency as those operated by private airlines.

When, on May 25, the Ferrying Division actually assumed operation of the eighteen airlines, and called them Military Air Transport, M-A-T for short, the new air-ground stations were still nebulous and far from realization.

Soon, however, a conference was held in the office of Maj. Gen. Harold L. George, Commanding General of the Air Transport Command. It was attended by representatives of AACS, by a communications man from the Secretary of War's office, by representatives of the Air Communications Office, and by high-ranking officers of the Ferrying Division.

At the conference, the air-ground communication needs, already known for the most part because of the earlier visit by the board from the office of ACO, were discussed in greater detail.

Radio specialist checks ground station transmitter - RF Cafe

Radio specialist checks ground station transmitter with a call to the tower.

1944 the Ferrying Division's C-47 - RF Cafe

A C-47 is shown landing at one of its airfields.

Bendix transmitter-receiver - RF Cafe

An invaluable aid to safe and efficient flying is this Bendix transmitter-receiver. Specially-trained men are employed for the installation of this type of equipment.

A short time later, a letter went forward from the Ferrying Division to Gen. George, for the attention of his Assistant Chief of Staff in the Communications Division of Operations, Lt. Col. W. D. Innes.

The letter set forth clearly the reasons why the Ferrying Division must have air-ground radio stations. Maps were attached showing the routes to be flown, and the number of aircraft to be flown on each route was indicated. It was suggested that as many such stations as possible be put into operation immediately. Request was made that each station be able to use two frequencies. In all, 47 stations were requested.

The result was instant cooperation on the part of the Air Transport Command, the Air Communications Office, and the Army Airways Communications System.

It was agreed that 47 modernized AACS stations would be set up along the M-A-T routes to be operated by the Ferrying Division. It was also agreed that the identical air-ground radio equipment used in commercial planes, the Bendix transmitter-receiver, would be installed in all Ferrying Division transports as speedily as possible.

Work went forward immediately. In August, a new AACS ground-air radio station, known as the New Castle airways station, opened at the 2nd Ferrying Group at Wilmington, Delaware. Other stations, of course, had already been in operation, with older facilities altered to meet present needs.

Installation of the Bendix receiver-transmitters went forward apace. By midsummer, most of the planes flying under the M-A-T purple and brown Flying Hawk insignia were equipped with this invaluable aid to safe and efficient flying.

Work is still in progress, but should be completed early in the fall of this year, with all 47 AACS stations in full operation and every plane flown by M-A-T equipped with the new equipment.

With this system in operation, it is possible for an M-A-T plane in flight anywhere over the country, to communicate at any time directly with Ferrying Division Headquarters in Cincinnati. The pilot of the plane talks to the nearest AACS station, which in turn talks to the Headquarters of the Ferrying Group which is operating the M-A-T route. The Ferrying Groups, evenly spaced throughout the United States, are connected by land-line network with Headquarters of the Ferrying Division. Thus, the pilot can at any time avail himself not only of the latest weather reports, but of advice from the wisest heads in the business of flying.

In the first half of 1944 the Ferrying Division established a record of 40,000,000 ton miles over foreign routes.



Posted June 17, 2022
(updated from original post on 2/12/2015)

Innovative Power Products Couplers

About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

Copyright  1996 - 2026

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

My Hobby Website: AirplanesAndRockets.com

My Daughter's Website: EquineKingdom

RF Cascade Workbook 2018 by RF Cafe

KR Electronics (RF Filters) - RF Cafe