Radio navigation in Switzerland in the 1950s

Navaids: NDB, Range, ILS

For historical information only, do not use for navigation or aviation purposes!

The following list contains the aeronautical radio beacons that were active in Switzerland in the mid of the 1950s. All information is outdated and may not be used for navigational purposes.

At that time only Non-Directional Beacons (NDB) were used. Ranges apparently did not exist at any time in Switzerland. VORs were not yet available. The airports of Geneva and Zurich had been equipped with instrument landing systems for several years. The Standard Beam Approach systems (SBA, Lorenz system) on these two airports were probably taken out of service in the early 1950s.

Remarkable are the Monte Ceneri and Sottens NDB. They worked on the same frequency as the radio broadcasting stations at these places. The beacons were operated only during the breaks of the radio station. This indicates that the broadcasting stations were regularly used as navigation aids. This differs from the situation decades later: Powerful transmitters can interfere with aircraft electronics due to the electromagnetic field they generate and are therefore now specially designated as "High Intensity Radio Transmission Areas" (HIRTA), to be avoided as far as possible.

The list is incomplete, as I don't have any information about military radio beacons.

Radio beacons and airways in 1955

Radio beacons Zurich, Switzerland
Northeastern part of Switzerland (bottom left) - Bordering: France, Germany. Austria, Italy (Source: DoD)
Radio beacons Bern, Switzerland
Area around Bern (right) (Source: DoD)
Radio beacons Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva (top right) (Source: DoD)
Radio beacons Ticino, Switzerland
Ticino with Monto Ceneri radio beacon (top center) (Source: DoD)

Explanations

Abbreviations

approx.approximately
ILSInstrument Landing System(Approach and landing aid)
IMInner MarkerMarker beacon just in front the runway
kHzKilohertz(Unit for frequency)
LLocatorNon-directional beacon for the approach
LMMLocator Middle MarkerCombination of Middle Marker and Locator
LOMLocator Outer MarkerCombination of Outer Marker and Locator
mMeter(Unit for length)
MHzMegahertz(Unit for frequency)
MMMiddle MarkerMarker beacon, usually about 1 km from the runway
NDBNon-directional beaconNon-directional beacon on long or medium waves
NMNautical Miles(Unit for length)
OMOuter MarkerMarker beacon, usually about 7 km from the runway
SBAStandard Beam ApproachApproach system, Lorenz system, predecessor of the ILS
THRThresholdRunway threshold (most often with number of runway)
VORVHF Omnidirectional Radio Range
WWatt(Unit for power)
WGS84World Geodetic System 1984(geospatial reference system, GPS coordinates)

Directory


For historical information only, do not use for navigation or aviation purposes!

Bern: Belpmoos Airport


Bern: Marker
N4659 E00722 (approx.) Google Maps
75 MHz
Located in Uettligen.
Bern: NDB
N4659 E00722 (approx.) Google Maps
UE, 366.5 kHz, 60 W
The ident "UE" is probably derived from the location near Uettligen.

Geneva: Airport


Runway 23:
Geneva/Cointrin: Locator 23
N4617 E00610 (approx.), 231°/3.25 NM to THR 23 Google Maps
OG, 279 kHz
Located in Versoix.
Geneva/Cointrin: ILS 23
GE, 109.9 MHz
Operated on request.
Geneva/Cointrin: OM 23 (ILS)
231°/3.3 NM to THR 23
Dashes, 75 MHz
Geneva/Cointrin: MM 23 (ILS)
231°/0.53 NM to THR 23
Dots Dashes, 75 MHz
Geneva/Cointrin: IM 23 (ILS)
231°/0.04 NM to THR 23
Dots, 75 MHz
Geneva/Cointrin: SBA 23
Geneva/Cointrin: OM 23 (SBA)
231° to THR 23
Dashes, 38 MHz
Geneva/Cointrin: IM 23 (SBA)
231° to THR 23
Dots, 38 MHz
SBA and ILS approach, Geneva airport, Switzerland
Map from 1952 with SBA (Standard Beam Approach) and ILS approach (Instrument Landing System) to Geneva runway 23 - SCS 51 is another designation for the Instrument Landing System (ILS). Good recognizable are the different marker beacons (Outer Marker, Middle Marker, Inner Marker) for SBA and ILS/SCS 51. The non-Directional Beacons ("R Bn" = Radio beacon) Gland, Passeiry and Lancy are each equipped with Z Markers, which signal the overflight. (Source: ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv/Stiftung Luftbild Schweiz / Fotograf: Swissair / LBS_SR03-05712 / License CC BY-SA 4.0)

Gland: Marker
N4626 E00617 (approx.) Google Maps
75 MHz
Gland: NDB
N4626 E00617 (approx.), 216°/13 NM to Geneva Google Maps
HEW, 253.5 kHz

Kernenried: NDB
N4704 E00733 (approx.), 197°/9.5 NM to Bern/Belp Google Maps
BP, 312 kHz
Operated from 0600 to 0830, from 1100 to 1300, from 1530 to 1800 and on request to Zürich ATCC.

Lancy: Marker
N4612 E00606 (approx.) Google Maps
75 MHz
Lancy: NDB
N4612 E00606 (approx.), 350°/2.15 NM to Geneva Google Maps
LA, 316 kHz

Monte Ceneri: NDB
N4608 E00855 (approx.) Google Maps
HEL, 557 kHz, 150 W
Operated when broadcast station was closed, from 2200 to 0600, from 0630 to 1000 and from 1300 to 1530

For historical information only, do not use for navigation or aviation purposes!

Münchenbuchsee: Marker
N4701 E00727 (approx.) Google Maps
75 MHz
Operated from 0600 to 1800.
It is unclear if the Marker beacon is related to the former Landessender broadcasting station at Münchenbuchsee.

Passeiry: Marker
N4610 E00600 (approx.) Google Maps
75 MHz
Passeiry: NDB
N4610 E00600 (approx.), 051°/5.6 NM to Geneva Google Maps
PY, 341 kHz

Sottens: NDB
N4639 E00644 (approx.) Google Maps
HEO, 764 kHz, 200 W
Operated when the broadcast station was not working, from 0640 to 1000, from 1300 to 1530 and from 2200 to 0610.

Trasadingen: NDB
N4740 E00825 (approx.), 162°/13.0 NM to Zürich/Kloten Google Maps
HEZ, 395 kHz, 400 W

Zürich East: NDB
N4738 E00847 (approx.), 225°/14.0 NM to Zürich/Kloten Google Maps
ZE, 371.5 kHz

Zürich West: NDB
N4726 E00812 (approx.), 090°/14.0 NM to Zürich/Kloten Google Maps
ZW, 326 kHz

Zürich: Kloten Airport


Runway 16:
Zürich/Kloten: Rhine NDB
N473401 E0082823 (WGS84, transf.), 159°/6.2 NM to THR 16 Google Maps
NDB: RN, 293 kHz
Fan Marker: 75 MHz
Zürich/Kloten: ILS 16
Z, 110.3 MHz
Zürich/Kloten: Glatt LOM 16 (ILS)
N4731 E00830 (approx.), 159°/3.5 NM to field Google Maps
Locator: OZ, 316 kHz
Outer Marker: Dashes, 75 MHz
Zürich/Kloten: MM 16 (ILS)
159°/0.58 NM to THR 16
Dots Dashes, 75 MHz
Zürich/Kloten: IM 16 (ILS)
159°/0.04 NM to THR 16
Dots, 75 MHz
Zürich/Kloten: SBA 16
Zürich/Kloten: OM 16 (SBA)
159° to THR 16
Dashes, 38 MHz
Zürich/Kloten: IM 16 (SBA)
159° to THR 16
Dots, 38 MHz
Runway 34:
Zürich/Kloten: NDB
N472638 E0083328 (WGS84, transf.), 339°/0.29 NM to THR 34 Google Maps
KL, 360 kHz
Approach to Zürich Kloten runway 16 in 1954 - In contrast to the Glatt and Rhine beacons, the Trasadingen beacon does not seem to have been located exactly on the extended runway center line, but somewhat to the east of it. (Source: DoD)
Zürich Kloten Airport in 1954 - The beacon "KL" was located south of the beginning of runway 34. Later the runway was extended in this direction. (Source: DoD)

For historical information only, do not use for navigation or aviation purposes!

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Related Topics

Radio navigation in Austria in the 1950s
Radio navigation in France in the 1950s
Radio navigation in Italy in the 1950s
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