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    Re: Russian air sextant
    From: Jim Stephens
    Date: 2010 Mar 15, 14:12 -0700

    Bill, Paul, and Richard,

    Thank you for your replies, all very interesting. I'll have a look in Peter Ifland's "Taking the Stars" for some of these models (British and German, don't think he mentions Russian). I'm thinking of finding myself an air sextant, and I rather like the A-12, and I think Celestaire's price tag is pretty reasonable. But this Russian model looks to be serviceable, and I suspect it is at least fixable. I haven't seen the British models for sale anywhere, and would be interested.

    I'm interested in a sextant I can use on land and demonstrate to my astronomy class. Then perhaps try to get a course organized.

    I can also use my telescope, with its computerized mount, as a theodolite. It's an exercise in circular logic, I know, the unit uses a built-in GPS in order to be able to locate celestial objects, but I can use it to manually slew to stars and read the altitude off the control unit. And I can use the scope indoors to set up practice problems: just command a slew to Aldebaran, say, note the time and record the altitude; slew to Castor, repeat, slew to Capella, repeat, and I have a three star fix I can use to practice my very rusty knowledge of sight reduction. And I have a nice homework problem to assign.

    One other scheme of mine. I'm a former Naval Flight Officer (NFO--navigator/weapons systems officer). Didn't do celestial nav from the air, but I and a friend of mine (an airline pilot who walked away from it after 9/11) are discussing trying to sit for the old FAA Flight Navigator rating. I suspect we could arrange for a written test, and we'd have to practice celestial nav from the air. Since I don't have access to a modern plane with a sextant port a hand-held model would be the way to go. Crazy project for this day and age, I know.

    Cheers,
    Jim

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