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    Accuracy of Altitude sighting at Sea
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 1999 Oct 23, 2:37 AM

    Thankyou to everyone who replied to this question.
    The consensus seems to be that the standard deviation of an altitude
    sighting at sea is, at best, about two minutes. Put another way, when a
    line of position is drawn on a chart as a result of a sighting, the
    experienced navigator will actually treat this as a "band of position"
    about 4 miles wide, and would expect his vessel to be somewhere on that band.
    I have to say, I was a little surprised at this. It means that one is
    hardly justified in buying a C.Plath Navistar sextant, when for a 50th of
    the price one can buy a Davis Mk 3 plastic sextant and not really be
    compromised by its comparative crudeness and simplicity!
    I read recently that the US Naval Academy has now stopped teaching
    Celestial Navigation, much to the relief of the cadets who found this to be
    the hardest subject, along with electrical engineering! However I was
    surprised when reading the piece that when they had done Celestial
    Navigation, the acceptance level of skill was that the cadet should be able
    to find his position to within 3 miles. However, this seems to be quite in
    accord with the consensus of this list.
    Thanks again,
    Geoffrey Kolbe.

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