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Celestial Navigation...

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Like, this:

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rsjr/1439767259/

 

 

I am really enjoying the A2A b377 Stratocruiser, an looking forward for the day when PMDG releases their DC-6.

 

One of the things I have wondered is if there are any add-ons that replicate and allow to use a sextant, or simply the observation and sky charts in FSX / LM Prepar3d (?)

 

The night sky, at least in LM Prepar3d when above the clouds allows for great astronomical observation, and most stars / constellations appear to be correctly placed, so

I wonder if anyone tried it yet, and what was used for the task?

 

 

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Since December, 2004... see dc3_bbsx.zip in the File Library. Also, dc3_bbsxa.zip which is a chart utility addon.

 

 

File Description:
As travel by air developed and matured, navigation over long distances also developed and improved. In the early days, however, air navigation essentially used ship navigation techniques adapted for aircraft. Without "landmarks", the navigators used Ded Reckoning (DR) and the stars. Celestial or Astronomical Navigation provides a means of obtaining Lines of Position (LOPs) from the stars. Crossing LOPs will fix a position. It requires a chart, and a planned course on that chart, with waypoints specified by Latitude and Longitude, an assumed time of arrival at each waypoint, and stars (including the Sun, Moon, or planets) in view. In the 1940s, extensive tables of star positions were made available to air navigators to be used with sextants to obtain these LOPs. In the tables, all times involved are GMT. This data is available from the Internet in "ready to use" form. This gauge simulates the sextant, and the process by which one obtains a LOP, or crossing LOPs to obtain a position, or fix. Can be used with any FS2004 aircraft. Includes comprehensive browser-based manual and references.

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Hmmm...

 

... that looks interesting. I'd always assumed that celestial nav was not possible in FS9 because there was no way to determine whether altitudes and azimuths were correct for the chosen date & time-- I'm pretty sure the position and phases of the moon are all messed up so I've expected the stars to be out of kilter too. Can't get a good lunar or noon observation. As for planets...

 

Are they all in the right places at the right times in FSX? That could push me into an expensive change of loyalty!

 

D

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Since I never tried this myself, I can only speculate that their positions must be good enough for this to have worked, otherwise the authors wouldn't have bothered to upload it... B)

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Hi Folks,

[FYI - I am using a shotgun approach to this question.  This means you may see this same post elsewhere.]

My family gave me a real British 1946 Husan Company nautical sextant for my last birthday.  As a result, I am pursuing learning Celestial Navigation like mariners and pilots (Charles Lindberg) and flight crews used before the days of GPS.  I am hoping the night sky in some simulation applications are modeled accurately enough to be able to practice taking realistic "sight reductions," or what are called, "shots."  I would appreciate any recommendations for good simulation PC "games" which will allow a reasonable learning experience.

Thanks in advance.      

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One of my favorite books growing up was "Dove", about a teenager who sailed around the world for five years.  He was an excellent navigator, always hitting his ports across the vast oceans.  From time to time his mast would break and he would have to jury-rig his sailboat to get to the next port.  He was in some horrific storms and eventually he bought a bigger sailboat to complete the last third of his trip thru the Caribbean and up the pacific coast.  His name was Robin Lee Graham, National Geographic covered his journey and Gregory Peck produced a movie about it in the 70's.  Sailing and flying (glider flying) are so similar using the wind for power.  They even have autopilots for sailboats that can hold a course while the captain is asleep.  Another good sailing book was "Two against the western ocean" by Patrick Elam and Colin Moody.  Also Tinkerbell, a good book about a 13 foot sailboat sailing transatlantic from the US to England.  I've been on a sailboat just once, on Lake Tahoe back in 1989.  It was such a smooth ride, sailing in the fresh air with and against the wind.

 Akin to sailing I have flown on sailplanes several times, back when Calistoga CA had a gliderport.  We would do ridge lift gliding in the eastern Napa Valley hills, then moving to the western hills for downwind and landing back at the airport.  To be towed aloft by another aircraft is an interesting experience, watching it break away from you as you start to sail on lift alone.  I was amazed that a two place sailplane could gain altitude in the lift and stay aloft at the pilot's will.  I have a video from my last flight, when we flew in tandem with another sailplane.  It was so beautiful to watch as it banked and turned nearby.  Of course navigation with those was dead reckoning, easy to do with the many landmarks around.  We would never lose site of the airstrip, small as it was.

A sextant would be a valuable tool to learn how to use, it would enable my dream someday to sail across the ocean, even with a gps it is a good backup plan to have and a skill honed thru the centuries.

John

 

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you guys might be interested in polynesian navigation.

 

very different from european navigation. does not require any tools or sextants or anything like that.

 

i have used it very successfully for flights around the pacific in the lockheed constellation and b377. it becomes markedly more easy when you have radio nav aids to assist you in making landfall, but it is extremely accurate whether or not you have radio navaids.

 

i frequently fly from tokyo to minor islands in the south pacific - very hard targets to hit, but i've never missed. fantastic navigation system really.

i'd be happy to describe it more if enough people have interest, or maybe do a livestream flight demonstrating the prep and techniques. really the best thing about it is that it requires no tools and can be used in any simulation that has an accurate night sky and round earth.

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You might be interested in this recent thread in the A2A Constellation subforum, where user MatzeH84 (also active here on Avsim) narrates an Atlantic crossing in the A2A Connie, using the sextant and weathership gauges.  Lots of pictures, too.

And over here, Lewis Bloomfield of A2A has posted links to a couple of YouTube tutorials on the sextant gauge.

Hope these are helpful.  You're definitely not alone in wanting to do this.  I'm tempted to take it up myself.  If I do, reports of mishaps will follow...

 

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