Thursday, August 24, 2017
Airway Beacon and Arrow in Dubois, Idaho
In the early days of aviation pilots used landmarks to chart their course which worked fine in the more populated eastern US but not as well in the west or at the night or in stormy weather. The US Post Office realized the benefit of using small planes for fast mail delivery and came up with a solution for night flights, inclement weather, and the lack of landmarks in the west. Between 1923 and 1933 1500 beacons were erected to guide the pilots over 18,000 miles of airmail routes. The beacons were spaced approximately 10 miles apart with large, concrete arrows, painted bright yellow, and positioned on the ground pointing in the correct direction.
By the 1940s navigation and radio technology had improved to the point where the beacons could be phased out. Many towers were removed and the concrete arrows crumbled but there are still 321 towers and 115 arrows scattered across the US. The beacon and arrow in Dubois, which are in very good condition, were recently restored by a couple of aviation history enthusiasts. The beacon is located south of Dubois in the small Dubois Municipal Airport. There aren’t any signs pointing to it or explaining it’s significance. Beacons 44.16886, -112.22433