NEW TRICKS for FIDO (Dec, 1946)

FIDO stands for (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operations) and seems to consist of using giant flame throwers to burn away the fog…

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Gliding out of a fog and into fair visibility, a C-47 prepares to land at the Navy’s Landing Aids Experiment Station, Areata, Calif. The flames burning off the mist are part of a new fog-dispersion system called ELMER—a refinement of Britain’s wartime FIDO.

At a central control board, an operator turns on lights and fog-chasing burners at Areata. ELMER has cut the costs of landing a plane in a fog to $150 as compared with the $4,000 average expense of using FIDO.

ELMER, in full glory below, is a line of tri-nozzle heads that atomize Diesel oil under high pressure and shoot curtains of flame into the air on both sides of the runway to vaporize the fog. A hot-wire setup provides instantaneous ignition of the oil.

Most unusual medium used in fog-dispelling is sound. Fog particles bombarded by sound waves collide, form heavier drops and fall as rain. Recently, however, the noise of a battery of 12 sirens nauseated personnel. Now the Navy thinks it can beat this with ultrasonic waves that humans can’t hear. At right is a generator and horn built by Ultrasonic Corp.

Fog is also being routed by light. Workmen above raise one of 38 towers carrying approach lights at Areata. The 75-foot tripod standards are arranged in two rows of 19 each along a 3,500-foot approach zone. They give the Naval station the most brilliant airport lighting in the U. S. Above, right, is a 5,000-watt American Gas Accumulator Co. light, one of which is atop each of the towers.

Improved weapons enter the battle against airport fog.

FLAME, sound, and electric lights have all been drafted in the latest skirmish of the endless fight against the airplane’s arch foe—fog. At Areata, Calif., where the Navy has its Landing Aids Experiment Station, the Navy, Army, and United Air Lines are constantly improving on FIDO, the vaporization of fog by heat. FIDO (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operations) was initiated by the British during the war.

Even as they explore the possibilities of fire, light and sound, Government and commercial forces seek other new anti-fog weapons. Experimental curtains of wind and 100-foot screens of water are to be thrown up alongside runways. Drying agents will be tested. The battle will go on until our airports win “freedom from fog.

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