Fairchild A-10 Aircraft Sextant

Item

Title

Fairchild A-10 Aircraft Sextant

Description

FAIRCHILD A-10 AIRCRAFT SEXTANT WITH WOODEN STOWAGE CASE. A-10-A Sextant from B-24 Liberator with varnished mahogany wooden case, attached metal handle and two metal fasteners. The bottom left side of the case is missing a section of wood panel. The metal identification plate on the sextant reads, "PROPERTY. AIR FORCES. U. S. ARMY SEXTANT, AIRCRAFT TYPE: A-10A, SERIAL NO. AF 44-14942. ORDER NO. W30-053 AC 1470 SPEC. NO. E320 K1". Also included in the case are white plastic discs for Fairchild A-10 & A-10-A sextants, and a metal casing for batteries (powerpack) 4.5 volts max. The metal plate attached to the woodn stowage case reads, "SEXTANT TYPE A-10 A, SERIAL NUMBER AF 44-3874".

Date

1944

Identifier

000.043.001

Medium

Metal, plastic, rubber, glass, paint, wood

Provenance

Thomas L. (Tommy) Thurlow worked with the Fairchild Aviation Corporation to develop a small and rugged aircraft sextant suitable for military use. The basic form received Army designation as the A-10 in 1941. It has a plunger that the navigator could push when making a shot, that would make a mark on a white plastic disc. After taking several shots in quick succession, the navigator would remove the disc and determine their median value. This example (an A-10-A) was made in 1944 by the Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation, as the firm was then known. It has an electrically operated timer such that observation marks were made once a second as long as the navigator held the trigger down. The Air Force was still using instruments of this sort in the late 1950s. Thurlow was a creative, tenacious, and fearless Army aviator. Soon after his death in an air accident in 1944, Sherman Fairchild established the Thurlow Award for contributions to the science of navigation. This award is given by the American Institute of Navigation.

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