View Full Version : Navigation markings on the ground, N. Africa

29th Jun 2022, 12:00
Hi all.

Over the years I've seen just a couple of references (with scant details) about navigation markings being laid out along the ground on long routes in northern Africa in the early days of aviation there, pre-radio navigation.

One suggestion I've seen is that there was an entire, unbroken line marked out on the ground along a route (I can't recall which one) of some hundreds of miles by digging a trench or some such. And perhaps large arrows or mounds as well.

Does this sound right? Does anyone have any details?

Thanks in advance.

29th Jun 2022, 12:35
Google 'Plain of Nazca'.

29th Jun 2022, 12:39
In 1921 the RAF was surveying the proposed route between Jordan and Iraq and ploughed a furrow to help navigation.

India Four Two
29th Jun 2022, 13:09
Flying the Furrow


29th Jun 2022, 13:20
Magnificent, thank you very much for the quick replies!

30th Jun 2022, 07:48
I once asked an old Transport Command navigator about navigating across the desert in the 1950’s and 60’s.

He said that it was easy; you just followed the oil slick that the Beverley’s had left over the years!

30th Jun 2022, 18:10
Alex Henshaw may or may not mention 'Markers' . If I remember rightly he followed tracks in the sand on his Trans-Saharan Flights. Read his super memoir ' Flight of The Mew Gull ' available in paperback.

1st Jul 2022, 14:39

India Four Two
1st Jul 2022, 16:26
Read his super memoir ' Flight of The Mew Gull ' available in paperback.

I've read it twice. I am truly amazed that he survived the trip, given the number of close shaves he had, never mind nearly passing out from exhaustion when arriving back at Southend.