Board Game, Flying the Beam


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

"Flying the Beam" Board Game

To exploit air travel's popularity and to explain the new radio range system in an easily understood manner, Parker Brothers introduced "Flying the Beam" in 1941. The object of the game was to be the first to safely land at the airport using radio range navigation. Playing pieces were rubber DC-3s.

The game board graphically shows how the system worked:

- A radio beacon sent out signals in a pattern of Morse code A's (dot-dash) and N's (dash-dot).

- Where the signals intersected, they combined to produce a continuous tone, which a pilot could follow toward the radio beacon.

- If the aircraft strayed from the center of the beam, the signal for either an "A" or "N" alerted the pilot that he had strayed off course.

- The exact location of the range beacon was identified by a "cone of silence."

Gift of Frank Youngquist

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Donated by Frank Youngquist


Paper, card stock, paper stock, ink, copper alloy, tape, plastics


  • 3-D (Box): 47 × 24 × 3.5cm (18 1/2 × 9 7/16 × 1 3/8 in.)
  • 2-D - Unframed (H x W) (Game Board): 44.5 × 45.3cm (17 1/2 × 17 13/16 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America

Physical Description

Board, instructions and spinner in original box. Game tokens are A19790160001.



Inventory Number