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    Re: astrocompass still in use
    From: Robert Eno
    Date: 2002 Sep 25, 22:31 -0400

    Hello Mr. Hirose,
    You worked on B-52's??? Now that is very interesting. Were you a pilot?
    Navigator? I would give anything to get a ride on one of those babies!
    OK. Back to reality. I have only seen the astrocompasses mounted on the dash
    of twin otters and other small aircraft. I've often wondered to myself if
    the pilots actually know how to use these things or whether they are there
    just so the airlines will be in compliance with MOT regulations.
    I was on one memorable flight on a 748 Hawker Siddley several years ago,
    returning from a job on north Baffin Island. As we were headed south, we saw
    a very bright object in the western horizon towards twilight. The pilots
    started speculating what it was: a town? Another Aircraft? It went on and
    on. Finally, I interrupted their discourse with: "no, that is Venus".
    Anyhow, I was quite certain that neither of these pilots knew how to use the
    astro compass.
    I'd love to have a gander at the MD-1 Astrocompass. It sounds like a very
    interesting device.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Paul Hirose 
    Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2002 2:38 PM
    Subject: Re: astrocompass still in use
    > Robert Eno wrote:
    > >
    > > The astrocompass is still in use in Arctic Canada; in fact according to
    > > one of my contacts in the airline industry, its use -- as a backup
    > > for maintaining a heading -- in small aircraft such as twin otters, is
    > > still mandatory.
    > Where would it be mounted?
    > When I first worked on B-52s in the early 80s they still had the MD-1
    > astrocompass. It was totally automatic. A little astrodome about the
    > size of a coffee cup was on top of the plane, and contained the "eye".
    > The MD-1 gave precise heading and also functioned as an automatic
    > sextant, continuously displaying your intercept with respect to the
    > nav system's present position. It long predated the microcircuit era;
    > the equations were solved with vacuum tubes, differentials, synchros,
    > etc.
    > Someone is selling a Mk II on eBay. Auction ends Oct 1. No bids yet.
    > It's a "reserve" auction so no telling how much the seller really
    > wants for it.
    > http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=717713573

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