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    Astronomical methods in aerial navigation
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2002 Dec 14, 15:58 -0800

    http://naca.larc.nasa.gov/reports/1925/naca-report-198/
    
    contains a PDF file (3.8 MB) of a document written in 1925 entitled
    
       "Astronomical methods in aerial navigation"
    
    that can be downloaded.  It also can be read online, but if you
    download it you can zoom in and read things better using Adobe Acrobat
    rather than your web browser.
    
    This publication describes several sextants by name, none of which I
    have heard of before.  The sextants described include:
    
    Baker aircraft sextant
    Marcuse sextant
    Harmann sextant
    Lindt sextant
    Byrd sextant
    Willson sextant
    Schwarzschild sextant
    R.A.E. sextant
    Fischer sextant
    Fischer pendulum horizon
    Fleuriais sextant
    Derrien sextant
    
    and so forth.  For those interested in early aircraft engineering, this
    website is a gem with many old NACA documents online.  NACA was the
    National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the precursor to NASA, and
    it was active from 1917 to 1958.
    
    Here is the summary for the document:
    
    The astronomical method of determining position is universally used in
    marine navigation and may also be of service in aerial navigation. The
    practical application of the method, however, must be modified and
    adapted to conform to the requirements of aviation. Much of this work
    of adaptation has already been accomplished, but being scattered
    through various technical journals in a number of languages, is not
    readily available. This report is for the purpose of collecting under
    one cover such previous work as appears to be of value to the aerial
    navigator, comparing instruments and methods, indicating the best
    practice, and suggesting future developments. The various methods of
    determining position and their application and value are outlined, and
    a brief resume of the theory of the astronomical method is given.
    Observation instruments are described in detail. A complete discussion
    of the reduction of observations follows, including a rapid method of
    finding position from the altitudes of two stars. Maps and map cases
    are briefly considered. A bibliography of the subject is appended.
    
    ---
    
    Fascinating!
    
    Dan
    
    
    

       
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