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    Re: Long-range airplane navigation
    From: Gennaro Sammarco
    Date: 2004 Nov 26, 18:37 +0100

    Hi everybody, I fly for Alitalia on B767, long haul flights only, and we
    don't use sextants and celnav anymore (unluckily). Navigation is taken care
    of by 3 IRS (inertial navigation system based on laser gyro) and 2 GPS when
    avilable, because it must not be the only device for navigation but needs a
    reliable back up system.
    With twin jets, anyway, it is still required to plot the route on a special
    nav chart and cross check the position  10 minutes after every meridian on
    the track.
    Some more specific navigation knowledge, celnav included, was required as
    professional licence to upgrade to long haul flights till 1992, when its
    necessity by law was cancelled.
    Every night crossing, anyway, I have a star finder and a handy program on my
    palm (planetarium), and try to spot all the useful stars that I can,
    training for celnav on my sailboat.
    Gennaro Sammarco
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Fred Hebard" 
    Sent: Friday, November 26, 2004 3:33 AM
    Subject: Long-range airplane navigation
    > I ran into a B-52 pilot who retired in the 80s or thereabouts. The
    > conversation turned to navigation without much difficulty; he also was
    > qualified in nav.  He mentioned that they had automated star trackers
    > for much of their navigation, but that they still carried a hand-held
    > bubble sextant, in case the electronics got shot up.  I wonder if that
    > is still the case today.
    > He also mentioned that they could get fixes to within about a mile.  I
    > don't know how they assessed the accuracy.  He said it depended
    > strongly upon the sextant operator.
    > Fred

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