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    Re: Sextant in the news
    From: Robert Eno
    Date: 2007 May 30, 23:58 -0400

    That is just asking for trouble. I can just hear the conversation with the
    police: "ya sure buddy, your observing the sun with that fancy contraption
    with the telescope. You can tell that to the desk sergeant downtown...."
    But here is a true story, clipped from a set of books I mentioned earlier
    (Nadir to Zenith, An Almanac of Stories by Canadian Military Navigators).
    He was a new navigator -- a "sprogg" and had just completed his Nav training
    at the RCAF Nav School in Prince Edward Island after which he was posted to
    Lachine Quebec in the early 1950's. He was to go out on his first
    operational training flight from Montreal to Frobisher Bay and Resolute Bay
    several days hence, so he drew out his MK IXA sextant with the intent of
    calibrating and practicing with it. He chose a location overlooking the
    river. In the course of his observations, the police pulled up demanding, in
    French, to know what he was up to. Not having a command of the French
    language, our navigator had a hard time in explaining what he was up to.
    From what he could gather, the police believed he was taking photographs of
    either some transmission line across the river, in which case he was a
    saboteur or he was attempting to capture photos from the bedroom window of a
    nearby apartment building, in which case he was a voyeur. Either way, it
    didn't look good for our hero. He tried to convince them that what he had
    was a sextant but to no avail. The language barrier didn't help. They
    brought him down to the police station and after cooling his heels for an
    hour, the boss came in and demanded a demonstration of his contraption.
    Using a ceiling light, the navigator gave the police a demonstration of the
    sextant. Satisfied with the explanation, they returned him to the place from
    whence he was picked up.  (Nadir to Zenith, Vol 1. p 266 - 269, Hockney &
    I highly recommend these books to anyone with an interest in the day to day
    experiences of operational air navigators.
    Now most people will recognize a marine sextant and even at that, seem
    perplexed when confronted with one of our ranks taking sun shots from
    wherever. Imagine the looks you would get if you had a MK IX in your fist.
    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 6:46 AM
    Subject: [NavList 2917] Sextant in the news
    > As I've mentioned a few times before, I have a news search set up that
    > looks
    > for stories with the word "sextant" and the phrase "celestial navigation".
    > There hasn't been anything interesting in a few months. Today there's a
    > story in "The Vancouver Sun" that has some comments which sound familiar.
    > We were talking a while back about getting funny looks from people who see
    > us using sextants. Here's a new twist:
    > "Dominique Prinet sits atop the rocks at Wreck Beach holding his sextant,
    > and hoping that nudists just now setting blankets on the shoreline don't
    > mistake it for a video camera."
    > Hey, you, stop measuring our angular diameters!
    > The article continues:
    > "As someone who still knows how to use a sextant in connection with time,
    > Prinet considers himself something of a museum piece. He's even certified
    > by
    > the Canadian Yachting Association to teach the subject, on those occasions
    > he can scare up a student.
    > 'There is absolutely no interest in it. People just use GPS (the global
    > position system, employing satellites to accurate determine position). You
    > don't get seasick making hours of calculations.' "
    > You can read the rest here:
    > http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=ce11f0f5
    > -513c-47d7-85f4-45d0c1a97865
    > -FER
    > >
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