Well, you’re right, A.E. was the first president of the 99s… who are still going strong… like the Lady’s ‘Tail-Draggers’ flying club. One time I talked to this old guy who used to be a woodwind player during the Big Band era in the 1940s. Once I asked him which is the hardest woodwind to learn to play: the sax or clarinet? He sounded a little-bit put out with me, and he sharply answered: “What does it matter to you which is the hardest to play if you’re the one playing them?” If people had to learn Morse code and celestial navigation they would get over the hump and just do it without wasting time worrying about the ‘difficulties’. Once you wrote me that you’re working on getting within ten miles of your targeted destination. I hike in the foothills around Cool, California with a Garmin GPSMAP66sr… and to be off by ten miles is a big deal when you’re on foot in the mountains, especially if it’s getting dark (maybe life or death). In celestial navigation there is an ‘acceptable’ area-of-uncertainty that grows with the greater distance traveled from the last solid position. That’s why few people bother with celestial–it’s not reliably accurate and there is no need for it, and it’s hard to learn. If the Red Chinese gobble-up our GPS satellites or successfully jam them, it would be a different story. I understand that the Air Force Blackbird bombers had computerized sextant-like devices that can take sites on up to eleven astral bodies and do all the math every 2 seconds twenty-four hours a day except when it’s cloudy. Yes, it saw stars and planets during the daylight hours. You probably knew about that already? If they take down our orbiting GPS sphere on a cloudy day we’re all screwed. ha,ha, LOL
Celestial Navigation might come in handy for deep-ocean mariners in an emergency but they’ll have to actually know what they’re doing with it. The rest are people who take up celestial as a hobby-horse. The best one of these hobbyists that I’ve read is the physicist John Karl, who wrote “Celestial Navigation in the GPS Age.” You can buy it used on Amazon if you’re interested. The book is oriented to mariners using traditional sextants. I think he has got his chops down pat. The one thing that really put me off from trying celestial is John Karl’s statement that a person with poor eyesight will get poor results using a sextant… my eyes aren’t great.
As far as how celestial navigation went for Earhart and Nonoon back in 1937 goes… even the coordinates they had for the ‘correct position’ of Howland Island was proved wrong by GPS to be about 5 to 8 miles off.
I like what you’re trying to do with your A-12… it’s a living part of history. I want you to succeed and become good at it. I like your grit too.