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On the Radar: 1952

On the Radar: 1952

September 1952. "Man in an airport control tower looking at radar screen." From photos by Phillip Harrington for the Look magazine assignment "International Airport." Who'll be first to locate this anonymous airfield? View full size.


Everyone is counting on him

But did he ever get over Macho Grande?

Today's Kennedy International

Unless it's changed since I retired two years ago, Kennedy International (former Idlewild) has four active runways. 31L&R, 4L&R and their reciprocals. Parts of the old runway system may have been incorporated into the taxiways, but it's not obvious. Operated there hundreds of times.

SSDD (Same Screen, Different Day)

FAA is still using those 50s-vintage oval screen CRTs, I believe

[The shape here is a circle, not an oval. - Dave]

Ground Radar Device

New York Times, September 17, 1952.

Idlewild Airport Dedicates Tower

The tallest airport control tower in the world was formally dedicated and put into operation yesterday at New York International Airport, Idlewild, Queens. The structure, equivalent to an eleven-story building, is 150 feet high; with its ground radar antenna, 166 feet. …

The tower is unique it its location with respect to runways. It is the only tower completely surrounded by runways, with its nearest runway 1,900 feet away. This was necessarily so, it was said, because of the airport’s size, 4,900 acres, the largest in the world.

Because of its height, the structure will not infrequently be in or above the “stuff.” To aid the C.A.A. controllers under these conditions, the Federal Government has installed a ground radar device that gives the controllers an image of virtually everything on the ground in the immediate vicinity of the airport. The device, an experimental model, was borrowed from the Air Force for experimentation. Thus far the results have been satisfactory. …

Idlewild Airport - New York City

Based on the location of the radar antenna and the runway configuration depicted on the radar screen it appears to be a view of Idlewild Airport in New York City. It was renamed to JFK airport after Kennedy was killed in 1963.

The two runways that form the "X" are long gone now but the other runways depicted are the part of the current runway infrastructure. Here is a 1951 runway diagram for the airport.

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