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Thread: The Bartow HILV system

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    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default The Bartow HILV system

    I am opening this thread as so little information is known about this very important WWII system. Air Ministry supplied lighting was of little use to the Eighth Air Force who operated principally in daylight. British weather was a serious problem to the USAAF squadrons who needed to take off safely and quickly in order that the formations could assemble easily. Landing was the other obvious problem. An answer came from aviator Jack 'Red' Bartow who had designed and produced a new system which had been successfully tested at a 'problem' airfield in Newfoundland. From mid 1944 seventy sets of the equipment arrived and were installed in the UK. Audit thread here .

    The official name was HILV (High-Intensity, Low-Visibility) which was usually abbreviated to 'High Lighting'. The Americans often referred to it as 'Bartow'. It was an elevated high-intensity system, with complex lighting units spaced at 60 metre intervals and 5 metres out from the runway edge. More units then extended on poles for further 800 metres at each end of the runway to form an approach avenue. The 200 watt fittings were installed on the main runway only, and being elevated ,were damaged at a much higher rate than anticipated.

    I recently purchased a Bartow unit (Ebay) which is in the process of restoration. It had been converted to 240 volt operation and unfortunately several items are missing - the internal lens assembly, the shorting switch, film cut-out and the (anti-condensation) fan and transformer. It was a physically large and ambitious piece of kit for its time, with an external spirit level, plus a level adjusting tool which was stored inside the case.

    A fine bottle of 1998 Arco del Castillo Yelca, with an August 1944 Bartow unit for scale


    Below: The unit with the top removed. The reflector has its back to the runway. Elevation and Coning adjustment scales are shown in black.


    This produces a beam pattern as below. Two units, as shown, produce curtains of light with very little falling on the runway itself.



    The units were made by The Line Manufacturing Company of Pennsylvania , under license from Bartow Beacons Inc. There is no information in TNA or on the web. I would like to discover which 70 airfields were equipped. What happened to the system post war? Currently Ridgewell, Honington are the only confirmed USAAF bases. It is known that 'some' RAF stations (including Hemswell and Leuchars) were equipped. The only other light unit I have seen was in the museum at Woodhall Spa.

    The system can be seen operating in 'Night Bombers' here. At 32:20 a Hemswell Lanc can be seen passing the twin threshold markers by the side of the runway. A few seconds later on take-off (32:42) the units can be seen at the edge of the runway. A night landing is shown at 44:29.

    Graham
    Last edited by Carnaby; 02-03-2013 at 22:05. Reason: video link updated

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    graham,

    Were the pillars designed to be frangible, i.e. snap off cleanly if hit by an aircraft or vehicle wheel? Or was it an 'Oh my Gawd' smashed to bits event?

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Quote Originally Posted by PETERTHEEATER
    Were the pillars designed to be frangible, i.e. snap off cleanly if hit by an aircraft or vehicle wheel? Or was it an 'Oh my Gawd' smashed to bits event?
    Yes Peter, there is a machined groove at the base of the pillar. I also suspect that the entire pillar could jump out of the base owing to the way it seems to be 'lightly crimped' in place.

    The glass cover is also made from 'windscreen glass' which ensures it shatters into tiny fragments - no dagger like shards. (I need to be very careful with this item).

    Graham
    Last edited by Carnaby; 21-07-2009 at 15:12. Reason: Reinstate photo

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    The price of a Bartow lamp was equivalent 2.500 in 1945...

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    OTBC Paul Francis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    So thats where my bottle of 1998 Arco del Castillo Yelca went playing measuring games with your odd-looking light!

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    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    I've just realised that we found the remains of a few of these in the dump site dig the other weekend.
    Mostly we found just the top rings with the small reflector discs around the edge, but a couple were still attached to the rusty remains of the lower casing. At least one still had traces of the yellow paint in a few spots.

    Sad to say, I think they were all classed as too far gone for display, and went back in the hole for another time.

    All the best,
    PB

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Quote Originally Posted by P Bellamy View Post
    Sad to say, I think they were all classed as too far gone for display, PB
    Pity - there are a few bits of mine missing, but form what you say the chances of finding anything usable seems remote.

    Graham

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    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Well, as we've only dug about 0.5% of that particular site, and there are at least two more larger sites awaiting excavation, I'll keep my eye out.

    Just cross checking what little references there are, are the HILV and D-1 Bartow lights different things?

    All the best,
    Paul

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Quote Originally Posted by P Bellamy View Post
    ... are the HILV and D-1 Bartow lights different things?
    Errr... 'D-1' is unknown to me. The famous AP3236 uses the term HILV throughout. A few years ago I came across a manual of American Airport hardware which stated that the HILV system was usually abbreviated to 'High Lighting'. Furthermore (possibly since the expression 'high-lights' could apply to lots of things), the Americans used the term Bartow system and Bartow lights.

    Intrigued - where did the 'D-1' come from ?

    Graham

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    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Quote Originally Posted by Carnaby View Post
    Intrigued - where did the 'D-1' come from?
    I found it in this report:

    Landing Aids for All-Weather Flying
    by Vance Gudmundsen
    Reports Analyst
    Landing Aids Experimental Station
    (Arcata, California)
    January 31, 1947

    ...the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics requested the construction at Arcata of the most effective FIDO systems then known, and the installation of the ISL (SCS-51) low approach systems for directing aircraft to the runway in low visibility. Construction of these facilities at Arcata was begun in March, 1945, by Navy C.B. personnel. These installations include the following FIDO types:

    Slot
    Hades-Rapex
    PWD Non-Glare
    Haifox Portable

    All the above types burn vaporized gasoline, varying principally in the methods used for pre-heating the fuel, and in their thermal output. The Slot, Haigill, Haifox, and PWD Non Glare burners all operate on a principle similar to that used in a gasoline stove. The vaporizer is a supply tube suspended parallel with and above the burner tube to which it is connected at the end of the burner unit. The Hades-Rapex burner has a separate vaporizer unit in which sufficient fuel is vaporized to supply approximately 1500 feet of burner line.

    The thermal output of the vaporizing burners is variable from approximately 15 to 50 therms per yard hour, except for the Hades-Rapex which can be designed to produce a maximum of 80 therms per yard hour.

    In addition, an entirely new type of FIDO was projected for installation at Arcata. This is the High Pressure Atomizing Burner, the design for which was developed by the Babcock and Wicox Company of Barberton, Ohio, under contract with the Bureau of Yards and Docks. Featuring instantaneous ignition, ability to burn on low-priced diesel oil, fully automatic operation, and simplified construction, it promised to reduce the cost of FIDO to a figure which would make its use economically feasible in peace time commercial aviation.

    The low pressure FIDO burners along the instrument runway, comprising approximately 12,000 feet of burner lines, were largely completed during the Summer and Fall of 1945. This work was accomplished by U.S. Navy Construction Battalions. It included, in addition to the burners, a low pressure pumping station for supplying the burners, a tankfarm having storage capacity for 200,000 gallons of gasoline and 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel, a railroad siding for tank car delivery, and a 4,500 foot six-inch pipe line from the railroad to the tank farm. In addition, Navy Electronics personnel installed the ILS [SCS-51] radio beam low approach system along the LAES instrument runway. Test of the slots and Hades burners, and flight tests of the FIDO installations in combination with the ILS were conducted in September, October, and November of 1945. The University of California participated in these preliminary tests.

    ...Personnel at LAES pressed forward in the development of the Integrated Landing System which they had been formulating during the previous months. Despite difficulties in procuring suitable materials, in obtaining access to privately owned land in the approach zone, and in securing the necessary technical personnel, construction of a working version of the Integrated System was accomplished with remarkable speed, in time for a revealing series of tests during the 1946 fog season.

    The Bartow Type D-1 Runway Marker Light was installed along the instrument runway. This required the laying of 12,000 feet of conduit and the pouring of 72 concrete light bases.
    An entirely new type of approach lighting installation was constructed in the approach zone, requiring some 7,000 feet of conduit, the erecting of 36 steel towers varying in height from 7 to 84 feet, set on concrete bases, and the installation of a 600 kw portable generator and 36 individual transformers. (This is the Funnel Approach Light System devised by W. T. Harding of the Air Materiel command at Wright Field. A special Wide-Angle High Candlepower approach light was Constructed for AMC by the American Gas Accumulator Company, Elizabeth, N.J., and mounted on the towers at LAES.)

    In addition to new lighting equipment, major alterations to the high pressure FIDO system were carried out during the summer of 1946, and the low pressure systems were restored to good condition after a winter's neglect. Similar neglect had rendered the ISL system inoperative. Portions of the equipment corroded by salt spray were replaced, and marker beacons were installed in the approach zone. Various expedients were devised to protect the equipment from weathering and to assure stability of the radio beams. To complete the electronic landing aids system, a GCA unit was obtained from Navy stock and technicians were located to operate and maintain it.

    Despite the tremendous amount of new construction and repair work required, and the delays occasioned by material shortages, lack of personnel and equipment, and the difficulty of obtaining access to privately owned lands upon which some of the installations must be located, approximation of the Integrated Landing System was achieved in time to conduct a series of test during the months of September and October of 1946. These 14 flight test series, in which over 100 landings were made during restricted visibility conditions, conclusively demonstrated the feasibility of making aircraft landing a routine procedure even in zero weather. Furthermore, it was shown that there is no reason why this system should not be put in use at once on commercial fields throughout the country.

    II COMPONENTS OF THE INTEGRATED LANDING SYSTEM

    The Integrated Landing System, proposed by the research staff of the Landing Aids Experiment station, consists of the following basic units:

    (1) Electronic low approach aids which will assure that the plane is brought safely down the approach zone to the runway at an altitude suitable for landing.

    (2) A suitable method of marking the approach and runway areas so that the pilot will be certain of his location and have adequate visual reference points for completing a contact landing.

    (3) A fog dispersal system for extreme visibility conditions, which will ensure that the final approach and runway areas are visible to the pilot as he terminates his approach and sets his plane on the ground.

    The backbone of the Integrated Landing System is an electronic low approach aid. Tests at LAES have indicated that either the Instrument Landing System (SCS-51) employing radio beams, or the Ground Control Approach radar unit, can be successfully applied.

    ...The light currently in use at LAES is the Bartow Type D-1 Runway Marker. The optical system of this unit consists of a 200-watt prefocussed lamp mounted within a hemispherical metal casing. Over this is mounted a dome-shaped Fresnel-type lens which concentrates the light into a vertical beam approximately 4 degrees high. A large outer dome of pressed glass is fastened over the unit to serve as a cover and also as the horizontal condenser. Vertical flutes on its inner surface redirect the light into a beam approximately 1 1/2 degrees wide. The unit is bi-directional, to mark the runway for landings in either direction, and projects a beam along the runway from either side. The beams are elliptical in cross-section and approximately 4 degrees high by 1 1/2 degrees wide at the 30,000 candlepower isocandle curve, dropping off sharply in candlepower beyond this boundary.

    The units are located along each side of the runway at 200-foot intervals. Green filters are installed in the markers at each end of the runway, and yellow filters in those bordering the 1600-foot terminal section of the runway, the remaining units being clear. This color sequence distinguishes the threshold, safe-landing area, and terminal sections of the runway in accordance with the Army-Navy-Standard Color Sequence.

    The Bartow Runway markers are aimed so that the axis of the main beam is directed across the runway at an angle of 3 degrees and upward at an angle of 5 degrees. At this setting, the main beams or lights opposite each other intersect above the runway at a distance of approximately 1000 feet.

    The narrow beam of the Bartow lights is not fully satisfactory for landing operations during fogs which restrict visibility to 1/8 mile and below . It was designed for use in visiblities of 1/4 mile and above, when the lower candlepower outputs surrounding the main beam are visible at relatively large distances.
    The rest of the report can be read HERE, sadly without the illustrations.

    All the best,
    Paul
    Last edited by P Bellamy; 26-10-2009 at 22:34. Reason: additional info

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