Good question, Spencer. The 3 airway beacon sites described in western Utah are those where concrete arrows remain today. There were other airway beacons. Between the Wendover and the Salt Lake City airports in 1944 there were 8 rotating beacons and 2 flashing (non-rotating) beacons. Two of the rotating beacons (56 & 60) were at the CAA Intermediate (emergency) airfields at Knolls and Grantsville. The gaps between beacons on this route were 14, 15, 15, 9, 8, 7, 8, 12, 13, 6 and 11 statute miles for an average gap of 10.7 miles.
Many routes existed! In 1943-45 there were five routes in Utah: Los Angeles-Salt Lake City; Salt Lake-Great Falls; Salt Lake-Omaha; Salt Lake-Pendleton and San Francisco-Salt Lake. The arrows near St. George, Utah were on an earlier Los Angeles-Salt Lake alignment that was later moved to the west over Enterprise. All or portions of 14 routes existed in Texas. In Ohio there were 9 routes, but only two each in Nevada and Wyoming. The original transcontinental lighted airway consisted of four named segments: San Francisco-Salt Lake; Salt Lake-Omaha; Omaha-Chicago and Chicago-New York. Routes were generally named and beacon sites were numbered west to east and south to north.
The only airway beacons on current sectionals are those still operating in western Montana but the state Aeronautics Division personnel tell me that none of them have concrete arrows. I have never seen any of the remaining original arrows depicted on current sectionals. The airway beacons were on the sectionals and regionals (WAC's) of the 30's through the 50's when the beacons were operating but did not depict which had arrows. The arrows shown on those charts only depict the directions of the course lights. Bruce, if you tell me what area you live in or fly over I may (or may not) be able to find a close arrow. Here in the Bay Area of northern California there is an arrow less than 4 miles from my home!
For a good listing of many of the airway beacon sites, go here:
And there you will find a link to the Eastern U.S. list. But not every site is on those lists. And not every beacon site had a concrete arrow. Some beacon sites had only a concrete base roughly eleven feet square. Some had no surface concrete with the four tower legs anchored in underground concrete. At many sites there are no traces remaining today. Regional aeronautical charts (predecessors of the WAC) from 1943-1945 for the 48 states show approximately 2,038 numbered airway beacons with 333 of these at airfields of various types and 1,705 beacons between airfields.
Where do the airway beacons still light the night sky? In mountainous western Montana the Aeronautics Division of the Montana Department of Transportation operates seventeen airway (off airport) beacons. You'll find them all on the Great Falls Sectional Chart. And you'll find airway beacons at museums such as the Western New Mexico Aviation Heritage Museum at the Grants-Milan Municipal Airport next to Interstate 40 at Grants, NM. The adjacent generator shed includes a Kohler gasoline-powered 1.5 Kw electric generator. Two of these powered many of the airway beacons. Since many beacons were in remote locations, the beacon assembly included an automatic bulb-changer that swiveled a backup bulb into place when the first bulb burned out. Airway beacon towers are also features of air museums at Cottage Grove and at Hood River in Oregon.
Elwwod, Here are three concrete arrows on the original transcontinental lighted airway west of Salt Lake City. You can see them on Google Earth or Bing Maps or in person! (1) San Francisco-SLC Beacon 57 about 28 miles NW of Grantsville at 40° 49.590', -112° 54.345'. A little bit of a climb required. The airway turned here so the arrow is "bent." (2) Beacon 59 about 14 miles NW of Grantsville at 40° 45.002', -112° 38.894'. An easy quarter-mile walk from parking at the electric substation. (3) Beacon 61A about one mile NE of I-80 Exit 99 at 40° 42.273', -112° 15.218'. This arrow has two tails because the airways from San Francisco and Los Angeles merged here! I parked at 40° 41.472', -112° 15.154', walked across the railroad and followed the trails I had plotted on Google Earth. Good exploring to you!
On all but the longest runways On-Speed and On-Spot are more important than being the smoothest. Think Navy carrier landings. On-Spot and On-Speed could, perhaps, have avoided the SWA runway excursions at KBUR and KMDW.