Airway Centers in the 1940s

1940s facilityAs these two photos show, racks of paper strips replaced blackboards as a means of noting flight data in this era; however, the system still relied on indirect communications and mental calculations.

The picture above depicts the New York center in 1942. The man at the far left is believed to be Oscar Holmes, the first known African American to become a controller.

Washington Center 1940The image at left shows the Washington center during the following year. Military personnel helped operate the facility, as the uniforms indicate. Also typical of the war years was the presence of women, large numbers of whom served as controllers during the conflict.

The nation's air traffic system coped with a great increase in flights during the war, and the number of centers jumped from 15 to 27.