markboston
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Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:35 pm

I was reading an article on Pan Am's first 707 transatlantic flight (from New York to Paris) in 1958 and am wondering how these early jet flights navigated. Did they have inertial navigation systems?
 
Viscount724
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:42 pm

Inertial navigation systems didn't arrive until the late 1960s. Until then, all aircraft on longhaul routes had a navigator in the cockpit, and the aircraft had a port in the cockpit roof for a sextant.

[Edited 2009-08-10 13:19:15]
 
vc10
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:54 pm

Viscount 724

I think you probably meant to say that Inertial came in during the late 1960s as the B747 came with INS fitted and by the early 1970s all of BOAC's aircraft were fitted with INS and the Navigators days were over.

Prior to INS the navigator would use a number of different means to navigate by one of which was the Loran system, however in many parts of the world he would have to go back to Astro navigation, as there were no other system available to him. On the VC-10 there was also the Doppler system to help him in that if I remember correctly it gave him the aircraft's drift and ground speed.

Littlevc10
 
Viscount724
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:23 pm



Quoting VC10 (Reply 2):
Viscount 724

I think you probably meant to say that Inertial came in during the late 1960s

Thanks. Yes I meant late 1960s. The airline I worked for (CP Air, later Canadian Airlines) was the first airline in Canada certified for use of INS (Delco Carousel IV) on longhaul flights. Reduced the number of crew in DC-8 cockpits by one. Must have been around 1969 or thereabouts.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:50 pm

When SAS introduced routes from Copenhagen to LA and Tokyo over the North Pole in the mid/late fifties they relied to a high degree on astro navigation. Just like the vikings a thousand years earlier.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
Qantas744er
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:00 pm



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 3):
Thanks. Yes I meant late 1960s. The airline I worked for (CP Air, later Canadian Airlines) was the first airline in Canada certified for use of INS (Delco Carousel IV) on longhaul flights. Reduced the number of crew in DC-8 cockpits by one. Must have been around 1969 or thereabouts.

Pan Am was the first airline certified by the FAA to use the GM build INS in 69'. The last flight done for approval was LHR-SEA with a more northenly than usual route taking it right over the NPOLE.

Leo
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markboston
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:51 pm

How accurately could a skilled jet navigator plot position using astro navigation?

How does astro navigation work in daylight?
 
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Moose135
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:15 pm



Quoting MarkBoston (Reply 6):
How accurately could a skilled jet navigator plot position using astro navigation?

How does astro navigation work in daylight?

I got to fly quite a bit using astro navigation in the KC-135 - most of our training flights consisted of a refueling mission followed by a navigation leg. This was in the mid-80s, and even though we had INS, DNS, TACAN, etc, we were practicing for what might happen if the horn went off and we were off to refuel a B-52 somewhere  Wink

The Boom Operator worked the sextant (and in the daytime, he would shoot the position of the sun) and the Navigator worked out our position and give course corrections to the pilots. The Nav was graded on most nav legs flown - the pilots would "score" the leg (which had to be a certain minimum distance and include at least one significant turn), taking TACAN fixes every few minutes, and would turn in the map at the end of the flight. I forget the exact tolerances, but he had to remain within a certain distance of the plotted course centerline (5 miles, maybe - it may have been less).

The sextant port (in the top of the fuselage near the rear of the cockpit) made an excellent launch tube for hard boiled eggs as well  Big grin
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
timz
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:58 am

I seem to recall reading Pan Am was doing their best to get away from cel nav even in their planning for the 1939 transatlantic flights. If you're down there at 5000 ft (or whatever B314s flew at) you would hate to be dependent on clear skies; probably most 1950s transatlantic airliners cruised... maybe 10000-12000 ft? So they wouldn't like to rely on a sextant either, if they had any alternative.

Aircraft sextants always used a bubble level, rather than measuring altitude above the visual horizon, like sailors do? And it was about impossible to keep the bubble centered, so their accuracy depended on some averaging device?
 
KELPkid
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:40 am

When was Omega/VLF commissioned for civilian usage? I seem to recall that it was the gold standard for TATL navigation throughout the 1970's and 1980's...
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411A
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:58 am



Quoting MarkBoston (Reply 6):
How accurately could a skilled jet navigator plot position using astro navigation?

How does astro navigation work in daylight?

After a 3300 NM flight in a 707, left/right 2nm...radar fix.

Sunshots....the above was done during daylight.
 
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American 767
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:00 am



Quoting Timz (Reply 8):
probably most 1950s transatlantic airliners cruised... maybe 10000-12000 ft?

Weren't airliners already pressurized at that time? I know the DC-3 didn't have a pressurized cabin, not sure about the DC-4, but the DC-6B and L-1049 Constellation must have had a pressurized cabin. With a pressurized cabin, an airliner can be certified by the FAA to cruise above 14000ft MSL.

Ben Soriano
Ben Soriano
 
timz
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:47 am

Sure, DC-6s were certified to 20000 ft, and some or all DC-6Bs to 25000 ft. My uninformed guess is transatlantic flights spent most of their trips lower than that-- in any case, low enough they couldn't count on a view of the stars.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:49 am



Quoting American 767 (Reply 11):
Quoting Timz (Reply 8):
probably most 1950s transatlantic airliners cruised... maybe 10000-12000 ft?

Weren't airliners already pressurized at that time? I know the DC-3 didn't have a pressurized cabin, not sure about the DC-4, but the DC-6B and L-1049 Constellation must have had a pressurized cabin. With a pressurized cabin, an airliner can be certified by the FAA to cruise above 14000ft MSL.

In the very early 1950s there were still some unpressuried DC-4s operating transatlantic and other longhaul routes. Swissair used the DC-4 on their New York route until mid-1951 when their first pressurized DC-6Bs were delivered. By then, almost all transatlantic scheduled flights were using pressurized aircraft.

One exception was Icelandair's predecessor, Icelandic Airlihnes (Loftleidir), which was still using unpressurized DC-4s on their New York-Iceland-Europe routes as late as 1960, when most other transatlantic carriers were operating 707s and DC-8s. Icelandic "upgraded" from the DC-4 to DC-6B in late 1960. DC-4 photos at JFK (then IDL) below dated 1958 and 1959.


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Woodreau
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:23 am



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 9):
When was Omega/VLF commissioned for civilian usage? I seem to recall that it was the gold standard for TATL navigation throughout the 1970's and 1980's...

According to wiki it started development in 1968 with IOC of 1971, decommissioned in 1997.


On another wiki page, there is something called DECCA, which was developed in WWII for the amphibious landings. It was primarily marine navigation system, but it was used in New York City, by an airline (New York Airways) in Manhattan in the 1950's. It did provide a "moving map" display in aircraft as early as 1949. There was an aviation version of DECCA in the mid-1950's that covered the North Atlantic called DECTRA, but I have no idea whether airlines actually used it or not.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:29 am



Quoting Woodreau (Reply 14):
On another wiki page, there is something called DECCA,

The DECCA Navigator was widely used in Europe by aircraft and ships.
DECCA was the company that built it in the UK.
This system drove the moving map display on the dh Trident in the 1960s. It was dependent on a chain of radio transmitters. There was a chain in western Europe, and down the eastern coast of the USA.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:59 am

What was the moving map like? Was it a sheet of paper/film or something, or an actual cathode ray tube?
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:04 am

The original ones in the Viscount were paper. But the Trident maps were a transparent film so it could be back lit. The paper was on a cassette and rolled up and down. The pointer moved left to right. When the pointer got to the edge of the map, there was a lot of whirring as the machine found the next map.
All BEA aircraft from the Viscount, Trident and BAC111 had a Decca moving map. It was quite large and in the centre of the panel between the pilots.
I am surprised that when the B737-200 was introduced around 1981, it replaced these aircraft, but had no area nav facility. No FMS, no GPS no nothing.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:55 am

That sounds awesome! To quote MEL: "Any pictures?"

Perhaps the 737 came into being in an era with more navigational aids. In any case the 737 Jurassic was very much a short range aircraft, perhaps reducing the need for sophisticated aids. And it entered service in 1968, not 1982.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:18 pm

I meant when the B732 replaced the Trident in British Airways in 1982.

Picture of the map dominating the Trident flight deck

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TridentFlightDeck.JPG
 
AverageUser
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:33 pm



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 3):
he airline I worked for (CP Air, later Canadian Airlines) was the first airline in Canada certified for use of INS (Delco Carousel IV) on longhaul flights. Reduced the number of crew in DC-8 cockpits by one. Must have been around 1969 or thereabouts.

My John Wegg book says the first transatlantic (North) revenue flight using INS (Carousel IV likewise) only was a Finnair DC-8 on 21 October 1969.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:15 pm



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 19):

Picture of the map dominating the Trident flight deck

That is awesome!
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
rheinwaldner
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:52 pm



Quoting 411A (Reply 10):
After a 3300 NM flight in a 707, left/right 2nm...radar fix.

Each fix has an absolute accuracy. The accuracy does not degrade with increasing flight length.

I found some common info:

About sextant hardware: http://www.users.bigpond.com/bgrobler/sextant/sextant.html
About Flight-Simulator simulation: http://www.swiremariners.com/sextant/index.html
More pictures: http://www.prc68.com/I/S5807.shtml

And I found THE ultimate info:

The USAF and US NAVY AFM 51-40 manual. I studied this document several years ago, but I forgot where it is on the internet (I once wanted to program a similar simulation-sextant-gauge for the Microsoft Flight-Simulator like from the above link. However I didn't find the time to do it). Today I found that manual again. It contains more than a whopping 100 pages about astro navigation with pictures for everything:
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data...torage_01/0000019b/80/37/83/d8.pdf

B.T.W. this documents costs 129 $ here http://global.ihs.com/search_res.cfm...=W097&input_doc_number=AFM%2051-40

Other "old" navigation techniques are described too.
 
Woodreau
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:36 pm



Quoting Rheinwaldner (Reply 22):
The USAF and US NAVY AFM 51-40 manual. I studied this document several years ago, but I forgot where it is on the internet (I once wanted to program a similar simulation-sextant-gauge for the Microsoft Flight-Simulator like from the above link. However I didn't find the time to do it). Today I found that manual again. It contains more than a whopping 100 pages about astro navigation with pictures for everything:
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data...8.pdf

Thanks for the link. I skimmed it real quick, and I noticed that a lot of the techniques are the same used for maritime navigation, setting up the DR plot and obtain LOPs, as well as the radar navigation.

I find it interesting that today when we obtain celestial fixes aboard ships, we're using the the celestial navigation practices that were developed for aircraft rather than going through the nautical almanac. -if it is even done at all - it's all too easy today to put the star shots into the computer and have the computer derive ownship lat/long or the celestial LOP from the data obtained from the starshots for plotting on the chart.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
kalvado
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:07 pm

A sad story of a late 40s transatlantic flight:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-AHNP_%22Star_Tiger%22
While full chain of events is not known, navigation sounds as being one of weaker links..
 
OV735
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RE: Early Transatlantic Jet Navigation

Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:10 pm

In Soviet medium- and long-range aircraft, like the Il-18, Tu-104 and Tu-114, a Doppler radar based navigation system (DISS) was used, which provided a reasonably accurate performance. Later on, the Il-62, Tu-134 and Tu-154 all also used the same system.

Naturally some drift error occurred over longer distances, and thus a VOR or a RSBN (the Soviet more complex and advanced analogue of VOR) station was needed for corrections every one in a while.

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