ANA/AOA Flying the (Lorenz) Beam - c.1939

In about 1939 Australian National Airways and its subsidiary, Airlines of Australia, used the advertisement above to promote the fact that their 'Great Silver Fleet' of Douglas DC-2s and DC-3s used the new 33 Mc 'Lorenz' Radio Range for navigation whilst flying in cloud. On 28 October 1938, Airlines of Australia had suffered a tragedy when their DC-2 VH-UYC Kyeema, from Adelaide and being flown by an ANA crew, overshot Melbourne's Essendon Airport in cloud and crashed into Mount Dandenong. All 14 passengers and 3 crew perished and the accident excited public outcry like no previous air accident.

A Public Inquiry was held to determine the causes of the accident. Among other things the Committee of Inquiry recommended that "all steps be taken to hasten the functioning of the ultra high frequency radio beacon [Lorenz] system in Australia". The Committee also recommended the establishment of Flight Checking Officers at the major aerodromes whose function would be to assist with the preparation of flight plans, check position reports received from pilots en route, assist with possible diversions due to bad weather and provide collision avoidance advice for aircraft approaching aerodromes at the same time. In short, the Flight Checking Officers became the prototype air traffic controllers, and their basic functions resided in the Operational Control branch of Air Traffic Control until the early 1990s.

(Image: via Mac Job)

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