1951 Approach Plate for Idlewild Airport (JFK)
Low-Frequency Range Approach to Runway 4R
This chart, donated by Capt. Bill Eastwood, was printed by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) which existed from 1878 until 1970 when it was replaced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For older pilots, the chart will trigger memories but younger pilots will be unfamiliar with range approaches. Each range station transmitted audio signals covering four quadrants. The pilot had to continuously listen to the signals through his headset. In two of the quadrants, he would hear a Morse "A". In the other two quadrants, he would hear a Morse "N". Adjacent quadrants overlapped to create 3-degree beams in which the signals would merge to provide a continuous tone. In order to stay "on the beam," the pilot had to listen carefully and make heading corrections to maintain the steady signal. This system was used for enroute navigation, as well as for instrument approaches. It was low frequency, so there could be plenty of static, often when you most needed to hear the signals. By the 1950s, low-frequency ranges were being replaced by more-modern systems, both for approaches and navigation.
Range approach to runway 4R
You can see the quadrants marked with "A" or "N".
Notice that the maximum anticipated approach speed was 130 knots; more than 20 knots slower the maximum approach speed of the jets.
Runways 7/25 L and R, and 1/19 L and R haven't been used as runways in years.
What's left of them is used for taxiways and parking areas.
The main instrument runway, 4R/22L, was 7,840'. The longest open runway was 8,190'.
In those days, it must have seemed like all one would ever need.
Today, 4R is further east, beginning below the approach end of 25R. You can see hangers 1, 2, and 3 where they remain to this day.
Note: These charts were 8" x 10 1/2"; larger than the Jeppesen approach plates we used in later years.
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