a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1947 - E. Eberhard demonstrates the serial roadmap presented on a screen in the cockpit of the plane by the new Teleran


CD 1967088 E&MP132.001


April 10, 1947


The new Teleran picture tube, employing high intensity phosphors for greater image brilliance, is displayed here by E. Eberhard, of the RCA Teleran Engineering Department.

Reproductions of “serial roadmap” presented on a screen in the cockpit of the plane by this new tube are so brilliant that they are clearly visible to the pilot in full daylight.

Immediately below the new tube is shown a developmental model of the Teleran airborne receiver, which mounts in the instrument panel of the aircraft.

A typical Teleran image is seen on the face of the screen face of the similar tube installed in the receiver.

additional text found


Laboratory progress includes improved tubes and techniques to provide pilot with "Aerial Roadmap" for greater safety -- tests under actual flying conditions slated to start in Washington this fall.

Important laboratory advances in Teleran, the revolutionary system of television0radar air navigation and traffic control under development by the Radio Corporation of America with sponsorship of the United States Army Airforces, were revealed here today at the first simulated flight demonstration of the system for representatives of the press.

The demonstration showed how Teleran employs principles and equipment developed during the war for radar and airborne television to provide the pilot with an "aerial roadmap." Combined in a single, clear picture on the instrument panel are all the traffic, route, weather, and other vital information the pilot may need.

Introduced at the special showing here in a laboratory of the Engineering Products Department of the RCA Victor Division was an equipment installation in a flight simulator, capable of duplicating all the maneuvers of a plane in flight. This enabled the writers, seated in an enclosed cockpit, to observe on a Teleran screen their "progress" over a simulated aircraft course approaching the National Airport at Washington, D.C.

The demonstration followed private showings for officials of the Army Air Forces, representatives of the Navy, the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association, the Air Transport Association, and the Civil Aeronautics Administration. These exhibitions constituted the second of three major steps planned in the development of the Teleran system. The first was a public demonstration, without simulated flight, held at Indianapolis last October. The third will consist of actual flight tests, schedules to start in Washington, D.C., next fall.

Four new technical advances were demonstrated today, they were:
  • A new "storage orthicon" television pick-up tube especially developed by RCA for Teleran.

  • A Teleran picture tube employing high intensity phosphors for greater brilliance.

  • An optical map-mixing technique which improves the composite Teleran image and simplifies insertion of additional information when required.

  • A time multiplexing system which provides for simultaneous transmission of images representing different altitude layers and selective reception of the proper image by planes in any one of these layers.

Instead of using actual radar for the demonstration, RCA employed projectors to simulate the small "pips" or spots of light which indicate the relative positions and courses of aircraft in a selected altitude layer. Air routes, terrain markings, and similar information were superimposed by means of specially prepared slides, resulting in a composite picture, which was transmitted to the pilot’s cockpit.

Each person using the simulator was in full control of the movements of the pip of light representing his own "plane" in the composite image presented on the Teleran screen on the pilot's instrument panel. He was free to maneuver out of the paths of other moving aircraft pips and glide smoothly past stationary obstacles, according to his handling of the flight controls in the simulator.

The new orthicon tube "stores" each individual image picked up from the radar screen long enough to scan it many times. Coupled with the light responses of the new high-intensity phosphors, this provides reproductions on the cockpit screen that are many time brighter than the original radar images, and clearly visible to the pilot in full daylight. The storage characteristic also gives to each light pip a polywog shape in which the position of the tail reveals the course of the aircraft it represents.

The optical map-mixing system developed for use at the Teleran ground station employs a partially reflecting mirror set as an angle between the radar screen and the television camera. The mirror transmits part of the light from the radar screen, at the same time reflecting to the television pick-up lens an image of the markings on the transparent map which is mounted at one side. This method of mixing the map and radar images overcomes the "off-register" effect which had resulted from the fact that the radar screen is convex, while the map is flat. It also permits location of the map where it is easily accessible for revision without dismounting.

The first civilian airport installation of ground surveillance radar, which will comprise one of the basic units of the Teleran system, are planned by the CAA for the near future at both LaGuardia Airport, in New York, and National Airport in Washington, it was stated, and the latter installation will be used in the initial flight tests of the Teleron system.

Today’s demonstration was conducted by Loren F. Jones, Manager of Research and Development Projects of the RCA Engineering Department, who conceived the original idea of Teleran, and Dr. Douglas Ewing, Manager of the Teleran Engineering Department. 

Original Caption by Science Service
Radio Corporation of America (RCA), including additonal text

National Museum of American History


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