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Flying the Beam: A Game of Aerial Transport

Identifier: EPH 5045

Scope and Contents

One game designed by Captain William J. Chapman and manufactured by Parker Brothers, Inc. Players spin and move pieces across a board marked to represent the challenges of flying a plane into an airport using only radio signals.


  • Copyright: 1941


Conditions Governing Access

The item is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Low-frequency radio range was the chief system of navigation for instrument flying in the 1930s and 1940s. Using this system, when blind flying, or, ‘flying the beam,’ pilots heard a steady buzz over AM radio headsets when on direct course to an airport. When a plane’s course deviated to one side of the beam, they would hear the Morse code letter ‘A’ (.-). If they drifted to the other side, they heard the Morse code letter ‘N’ (-.). As pilots neared the ‘On Course’ signal, the letters ‘A’ and ‘N’ would meld to become a uniform tone termed the ‘Twilight’ zone. As the pilot approached the radio sending station at an airport, the signal would fade into a ‘Cone of Silence’.

Biographical / Historical

William J. Chapman was an Army captain and pilot. In 1939 he worked as a flight instructor at the Army Air Corps' Lincoln Flying School in Lincoln, Nebraska.


1 box (1 game (1 folded board, 4 pieces, 1 spinner, 1 sheet)) : cardboard, metal, color ; 45 x 45 cm board in box 24 x 47 cm

Language of Materials



Includes print list of rules for play.

Jennifer Brcka
2019 September 9
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556