A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2014 Dec 2, 08:43 -0800
In my opinion any reference to a Chichester Test is ‘Could it have been used in Chichester’s time to do what Chichester did’. To try and relate it to modern day flying is unrealistic for the following reasons. First, a back-up has to be reliable. The solo flyer is unlikely to be able to afford an aircraft with sufficiently high performance to climb above the highest cloud, so astro might not be always available. Second, as I pointed out earlier, there’s much more traffic to avoid these days. Third, FC had an open cockpit. On a suitable heading he would have had a good view of the sky above. The view from an enclosed cockpit is much more restricted. Fourth, there are much better alternatives. Three hand held Garmin eTrex for $100 each would provide cover for aircraft systems failure, isolate a duff eTrex, and raise awareness of a duff GNSS system. If you dropped one there would still be two left. Contrary to popular belief, most between wars record flights were carried out by following railway lines etc. Only when these weren’t available such as for long flights over sea was astro used. Even then, Charles Lindbergh preferred to concentrate upon flying his flight plan very accurately suitably modified by his visual assessment of drift. Therefore, whilst a FC test is good way of comparing historic techniques, to attempt to test such a system fully in the air in 2014 would be impractical and unwise.