Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: Balloon Sextants
    From: David Pike
    Date: 2016 Mar 28, 12:21 -0700

    David,  A book that talks about early navigation in baloons and Zepplins is " Most Probable Position" by Monte Wright.  In it he describes sextants with bubble levels - marine sextants with an artifical horizon - that were tried in baloons in the late 1800's and German Zepplins during WW1.
    I have bought several so-called baloon sextants on e-bay.  They are misslabled by the seller.  The correct term is Pibal - pilot baloon transit.  The instrement looks like a theodolite or transit but the eyepiece is at 90 degrees to the objective lens.  The eyepiece is in the horsontian axis.  You can keep the baloon in sight even if it flys overhead.
    There is a Navy model for use on ships that looks something like a big - heavy sextant but is monten in gimbles.
    Hope this helps.  John H.

    Thank you John.  As I suspected, the later models are mislabelled, and are actually for tracking balloons (or anything else that flies over I suppose).  It's their use from balloons and airships I'm researching.  I've just found a copy of MPP on Abe Books UK from the same US bookseller at a price I can afford, so I'll wait until that arrives.  (I've plenty of info after 1918 by the way) DaveP

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site