The great handicap in the use of the airplane for mail carrying has hitherto been the loss of time through inability to fly at night. According to a statement by Postmaster General New, night flying will be inaugurated in July or August and a continuous service between New York and San Francisco will cover the intervening 3,000 miles in 28 hours.
Millions of people in the Middle West will nightly witness an artificial aurora borealis, visible fully 50 miles from its source. This will be created by sweeping lights of great aerial beacons at the five regular fields in Chicago, Iowa City, Omaha, North Platte and Cheyenne. These beacons will each have 600,000,000 candlepower. Unlike shore lighthouses, the beams of light will be thrown upwards, making three complete revolutions every minute so that pilots can easily pick them up. Smaller beacons with a visibility of only 30 miles will be placed at emergency fields every 25 miles along the route. Traffic lights every three miles and red lights to mark buildings and other obstacles at landing fields complete the ground organization.
A year of these extraordinarily careful preparations and the natural advantages of the very level country between Chicago and Cheyenne are expected to make this night leg of the service almost as safe as day flying.