Bloomington Aviation Navigation Arrow

Bloomington Aviation Navigation Arrow

History

History

This arrow is one of several placed throughout the country in the 1920s as a way of helping early aviators navigate in the absence of radio beacons, aeronautical charts, and radar. This beacon is on top of a hill overlooking Bloomington to the south, downtown St. George to the north, and then Pine Valley Mountain and Zion beyond.

 
Elevation Range:   0 ft
Low Elevation:   2900 ft
High Elevation:   2900 ft
Distance:   0.0 miles
Area:   St. George
Cost:   Free
Rating:    (2.0)
Aerobic Intensity:    (0.0)
Technical Difficulty:    (0.0)
Scenery:    (3.0)
  1 ratings
Last Edited: Oct 05, 2016

 Guide

The US Mail started its air delivery service on August 20, 1920, but in those early days of aviation history there were still many limitations in air travel.  Navigation was one of those limitations and without radar, aeronautical charts, or radio beacons the pilots flew by the seat of their pants and by visual contact with the ground.  This meant of course that flying was only practical during the day, and during optimal weather conditions.

The postal service needed a way to overcome those limitations and keep the airmail service running as much of the time as possible.  In 1923 congress funded a navigation system that would eventually stretch all the way from New York to San Francisco, and the remnants of that system are in place today with these navigational arrows.

Each of these arrows had a lighted beacon on a tower, the concrete was painted yellow, and if necessary a generator was in place to keep the lights going at night.  The towers were 51 feet tall, and the beacon was placed above two course lights that pointed forward and backward along the arow.  These lights flashed in sequence to indicate which beacon they were associated with; this was beacon 37A.

While Washington County was not on the first planned route, another route was added to connect Salt Lake City with Los Angeles, and this arrow was added along with several others, including those on top of Shinob Kibe, west of Quail Creek Reservoir, and on the Black Ridge.

The inscription on the monument placed here reads:

Utah is Rich In Aviation History

The first regularly scheduled overland passenger flight in the USA was made by Western Air Express on May 23, 1926, from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. This 50-foot concrete arrow was one of four here in the St. George area, placed every 10 miles, for navigation of mail and passenger planes. The steel posts held coal oil lamps to illuminate the arrows after dark.

As aviation progressed, navigational aids and techniques advanced to the point that these markers were no longer needed, and they were decommisioned in the 1940s.  The steel used in the towers was used for the war effort, and all that remains now are these 70 foot concrete arrows.

This arrow is fairly easy to get to, and can be arrived at with a 5 minute hike/walk up a dirt road.  Even without this historical element, the view all around is amazing and worth the trip all by itself.

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 Getting There

From Downtown St. George:

  • Take Main Street south, crossing over Bluff St. as the road turns into Blackridge drive.
  • When Blackridge Dr. tees with Dixie Dr, turn right
  • After .5 miles, turn left onto 600 W
  • At the roundabout, take the first right onto Tonaquint Dr.
  • After .8 miles, turn left onto Sir Monte Dr.
  • 0.3 miles to the West, the dirt road you will need is across from Windsor Rd
  • Take the dirt road south if you have a vehicle that can take it, otherwise park at the base of the road and hike up.

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