# NavList:

## A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Message:αβγ
Message:abc
 Add Images & Files Posting Code: Name: Email:
Re: sextants on aeroplanes
From: Gary LaPook
Date: 2008 Nov 29, 02:57 -0800

```A marine sextant has severe limitations on its use in flight due to
indistinct horizon problems and large and inaccurate dip corrections.

The higher you fly the further the horizon is away from your position.
The distance in nautical miles is, for practical navigation purposes,
the square root of the altitude as measured in feet. From one hundred
feet the horizon is ten NM away but at 10,000 feet the horizon is 100
NM away. At 10,000 feet, if the visibility is less than 100 NM (as it
is all the time over the sea) then you can't see the actual horizon.

When using the marine sextant you have to make a correction for "dip"
which is caused by the fact that you are looking slightly downward to
the visible horizon and since you are making your measurements in
relation to this depressed horizon all of your measured altitudes are
to great and you have to subtract the angle that the visible horizon
is "dipped" below horizontal. This correction in minutes of arc or in
nautical miles is also approximately equal the the square root of the
altitude in feet. At 10,000 feet this correction is 100 minutes of arc
(actually 97 minutes) or approximately 100 nm. Because you measure
your altitude with a barometric altimeter any change in weather and
atmospheric pressure will cause your altimeter to give you an
incorrect altitude and you will apply an incorrect dip correction.
After a long flight is is quite easy to have an altimeter that reads
wrong by a thousand feet since this would be caused by a one inch of
mercury change in barometric pressure.

The following advice comes from someone who has some knowledge of
using a marine sextant in flight.

"If accurate results are required, first fly at sea level to correct
the altimeter, then rise to the maximum height from which the horizon
is clearly visible."

(of course, you can't always do this.)

This comes from Sir Francis Chichester in "The Observer's Book On

In fact, he did exactly this when making the first flight from New
Zealand to Australia across the Tasman Sea in a Gypsy Moth light plane
in 1931 using a marine sextant to find two small islands on the way
is wonderful to read and I can email it to anybody who requests it off
list.
gl

On Nov 19, 2:18�am, glap...@PACBELL.NET wrote:
> Do you mean marine sextants?
>
> gl
>
> On Nov 18, 11:20�am, "Jackie Ferrari"  wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > Dear List,
>
> > I understand that sextants as opposed to bubble octants were used to
navigate aeroplanes. I was wondering therefore how prevalent this was and
>
> > Regards,
> > Jackie Ferrari.
>
>
--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~
To post, email NavList@fer3.com
To unsubscribe, email NavList-unsubscribe@fer3.com
-~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
```
Browse Files

Drop Files

### Join NavList

 Name: (please, no nicknames or handles) Email:
 Do you want to receive all group messages by email? Yes No
You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

### Posting Code

Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.
 Email:

### Email Settings

 Posting Code:

### Custom Index

 Subject: Author: Start date: (yyyymm dd) End date: (yyyymm dd)