Original U.S. WWII Army Air Forces Type A-7 Octant by Bendix Aviation in Transit Case
Original Item: Only One Available. This a a very rare navigational instrument, as used on American bombers in WWII. The data plates on the octant and transit chest are identical, and read:
U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES
TYPE NO. A-7 SERIAL No. AC-42-663
SPECIFICATION NO. 94-27747-A
ORDER NO. AC-17520
MFR'S' ASSY. DWG. NO. 3003-B
BENDIX AVIATION CORPORATION
PIONEER INSTRUMENT DIVISION
BENDIX, NEW JERSEY, U.S.A.
In January 1942 the Pioneer Instrument Division of Bendix Aviation received a contract worth $1,068,000 to make 2400 A-7 aircraft sextants for the Army Air Corps. This was part of that contract, and looks to have been made in 1942.
Condition of the Octant is quite good, though we have no way of testing it. The only issue is that the original rubber eyepiece is now somewhat stiff, being almost 80 years old. The original transit chest, which measures 9.5" x 8" x 5.5", is in good shape both inside and out, and fits the Octant perfectly. There are also three spare bulbs inside, as well as extra leads for the device. The leather top strap for the case has broken, but otherwise this set is in excellent condition.
The A-7 was based on the instrument that Pioneer had introduced in 1931, but equipped with a finger activated pencil that enabled the navigator to make a number of vertical marks on a piece of roughened gray paper mounted below the index knob.
After each series of shots, these marks would be visually averaged, and the average time of the series determined from a stopwatch. Although the technique was relatively crude, the Army boasted that an experienced navigator using an in instrument of this sort could "set his plane down at the end of a transoceanic flight within an error radius of only 15 miles, less than four minutes "flying time."
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