A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2016 Feb 15, 02:32 -0800
Wow, the apparatus described by Aviation Week seems quite a trainer. I’d assumed that the trainer worked on by Air Cdr John Mitchell was more like the RAF Bubble Sextant Trainer, Mk 1 (Stores Ref 6E/369) which was simply a tailor’s mirror placed horizontally in a frame and mounted on a wall. The angle of the mirror could be altered, and that angle could be wobbled by a motor driven cam at a rate which modelled the dynamics of a Sunderland flying boat. The student navigator had a lamp attached to his sextant, which he could shoot the reflection of in the mirror (see photos). Was it Henry Royce who said ‘An engineer is a person who can make for five shillings a device that any fool can make for a pound’?
They’d gone out of use when I went through training in the 1960s, but they did have visits put on for our general education. One was to London where we visited the Law Courts in the afternoon and the London Planetarium straight after public closing time, where they put on a special ‘Navigator’s’ show for us. Another visit was down a coalmine, but that’s another story. DaveP