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Balloonist directing artillery strategy in World War I.

Communications between aircraft and the ground can be accomplished optical signaling, electronic telegraph, or other means.

In a military context, communications between air and ground enable coordination between forces and allow the exploitation of aerial reconnaissance.

Aircraft can also be used for communications from ground-to-ground, as in the case of air mail. This use dates back to the dawn of ballooning, and was also often done for military purposes.[1]

The first recorded instance of wireless telegraphy between ground and air occurred on 11 November 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair.[2]


  1. Allaz, 1998, pp. 12–13, etc.
  2. Horgan, 1965, pp. 124–125:

    While activity among the airships lagged, another aeronautic 'first' was recorded at the Exposition. On November 11, three men ascended in a balloon and performed the first successful demonstration of wireless telegraphy between the ground and air in the United States. They were: Paul Knabenshue, the younger brother of the pilot of the California Arrow, A. W. McQueen, a wireless operator for the American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company, and Will S. Forman, a reported for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. They left the Exposition grounds at 3:15 P. M. in a thirty-foot balloon of 6,000-cubic-foot gas capacity. For an hour and a half, at heights varying from 1400 feet to two miles, they received twenty messages from the station at the Fair ground, the first of which read:

    W. S. Forman, Balloon: I congratilate the Globe-Democrat on having a reporter present to see the first wireless message every received in a balloon. (Signed) L. Z. Harrison, Manager De Forest Company.

Enclosing categories Simple tech terms
Subcategories air mail, Radio
Keywords Electronics
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