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Flight Corridors

  • Dr. Harold E. Raugh, Jr.
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


The Americans flew primarily two type of cargo planes.

C-47s and C-54s.

These were cargo planes, which, when you look at them now

and compare them with the Air Force cargo plane,

you can play basketball in these things.

They're just huge.

And I didn't do the calculations

to reveal how many C-47 loads would fit in

a C-5 or C-17 today,

but it's scores.

It's just phenomenal.

And these guys, at times,

they were flying three or four sorties a day.

The Soviet Air Force would frequently harass

some of the planes.

They were smart enough not to try to shoot any down,

(clears throat) excuse me,

but they would harass planes.

And there were three air corridors that the allied planes

were restricted to fly on,

and they had to fly

not only within that air corridor

but General Tunner figured out a system,

very ingenious back in those days,

considering the state of technology,

to maximize the number of airplanes and tonnage

that could fly into Berlin.

There was a system between 4,000 feet altitude

and 6,000 feet

where every 500 feet

was a flight path.

So you would have 4,000, 4,500, 5,000, 5,500, 6,000,

five flight paths over each of the three air corridors

being flown simultaneously.

A tremendous air controller's nightmare.

But it worked.

American and British ingenuity and fortitude

capitalizing upon that wartime alliance,

as well as our shared common interest and heritage

that we do have.

  • The Berlin Airlift

    © RAF Museum

  • The Berlin Airlift

    © RAF Museum

  • The Berlin Airlift

    © RAF Museum

  • The Berlin Airlift

    © RAF Museum

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