Dead Reckoning

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Introduction

Richard Byrd used this one on his Antarctic expeditions. A Gatty-style drift sight was complex, heavy, and less effective for overwater flying. The Pelorus drift sight was smaller and lighter but required more manual calculation and the use of flares or smoke bombs in certain conditions. The float light was a smoke-producing flare designed to be dropped by an aircraft over open water for drift sighting during the day or night. This type would have been used from the late s through World War II. Mark 3A Plotting Board. The crews of carrier-based aircraft had to keep track of their own position as well as that of their aircraft carrier.

This type of plotting board allowed them to track the movements of each and plot a return course. Model 3-B Protractor. Most navigators used chart tables for plotting courses.

dead reckoning - Wiktionary

Plotters such as this allowed them to precisely lay out courses and intersecting lines of position. B-3 Drift Meter. The B-3 was used on bombers and transports when ground or water could be clearly seen. It evolved from the earlier Gatty drift meters. Dividers and Compass.

Dead Reckoning: a guide to family history research in WA

Dead reckoning is one of the oldest navigational techniques, which still has an influence on the present day navigational systems. The method facilitates the sailor to determine its current position on the basis of the paths and speeds already traveled by the ship.

Moreover, dead reckoning also allows the sailor to plan his future courses along with the required speed. Though Dead reckoning is the navigational method of the past, many modern navigation systems are based on the same principle.


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In fact, dead reckoning is supposed to be the first method in the history of marine navigation that required keeping a daily log. In the early days of using dead reckoning, the sailor used to measure the position and distance traveled by the ship from a fixed position or point, for e. The sailor accordingly used to make a chart , marking the points with pins.

The points would represent the course and direction traveled along with the speed. For measuring the direction magnetic compass were used, whereas speeds were measured by using chip log or other similar methods. Along with the chart, all the details were also recorded in a report log, which was updated every hour or within regular interval of time. The ship was marked with a sign both on the forward and aft side.


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In old times, ships would throw a log over the side tied to a rope and count how long it took to pass this log or to pull a rope with knots and count how many knots get pulled out in a certain amount of time. This would give the speed of the ship. Knowing the direction from a compass would give the direction.

Pilotage and Dead Reckoning

From these two numbers an estimate a good guess could be made about the current location of the vehicle. However, a wind pushes the vehicle to one side called drift so this needs to be measured as well. Also there are currents in the water, even in the middle of the ocean. Over time this could make errors as well, so charts were made to correct for currents. Airplanes can measure their windspeed easily how fast they are going through the air , but not how fast they are moving over the land called ground speed.


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A head wind, tail wind, or cross wind changes the ground speed. If the altitude of the plane is known, then the ground speed can be found by timing how fast the plane goes past an object on the ground. The higher you are, the slower the ground seems to move.