National Geographic : 1926 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Nat L. Dewell ONE OF THE POWERFUL FLOODLIGHTS AT AN AIR MAIL AVIATION FIELD, WITH A LIGHT INTENSITY OF 500,000,000 CANDLEPOWER Through the open doors of the hangar a group of mechanics emerged, wheeling out a reserve plane onto the wide cement mat, their shouts and laughter floating up ward. Beyond the friendly circle of the flood lights, the level, grassy surface of the landing field gleamed vaguely beneath its starlit blanket, blending into the night, its distant border sharply outlined by a long, low row of boundary lights. Above my head the ponderous arc-light mechanism ground round and round in its unhurried course. The penetrating beam, like a thin saber of fire, flashed far out across the neighboring fields, gilding the high windows of Fort Crook barracks and the farmhouses on Bellevue Hill; while close behind hurried the cringing shadows. A mile to the east, under a thin rising mist, lay the broad Missouri, whose muddy waters, "too thin for a beverage, too thick for a drink," find their source in the far away Rockies. From a grassy meadow out in the dark river bottom a tiny auto matic beacon winked cheerfully, like a lost gleam at the bottom of a well, mark ing the air trail that leads eastward more than a thousand miles, to New York. THE SENIOR MAIL PILOT HAS FLOWN 300,000 MILES "Who's due in tonight?" I asked the beacon attendant, who had climbed up be side me on the narrow platform.