A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2021 Sep 12, 01:36 -0700
Geoffrey Kolbe you wrote: Hughes made some 3.5" arc "Flying-boat" sextants during WWII. ......... A photo of mine is below.
That is a nice Hughes ‘Flying Boat’ sextant Geoffrey. Like everything else much worse ones are still being advertised at much greater prices at even the best auction houses. It’s interesting to see that by July 1945 Hughes were already starting to aim at the yachting market as a possible outlet for their by now massive but reducing WW2 production effort. They also seem to find it easier to use up stocks of that horrible ‘Paxolin’ type material and the staff who worked with it rather than search for hardwood for the case. Whilst one can see good reasons for maintaining the use of marine sextants in flying boats, which patrolled quite low and could easily drop down to sea level to assess surface pressure (so their altimeter would give them an accurate height of observer when they climbed up again), I wonder why it was necessary to produce a new smaller design. Coutinho and the Zeppelins used standard sized sextants and a Hughes ‘Mates’ sextant would have fitted most apertures in most British flying boats, so why produce a new smaller frame and index arm and attach what look like standard Hughes mirrors and shades to it.
The only thing I can think of was that marine production was already at full stretch for ships, so if you had to produce new moulds and arc cutting machines for maritime aircraft, you might as well produce them to make a simpler more robust product. Any ideas? DaveP