Fun Fact January 14, 2021.
14 January 2021
Today we’ll try to navigate using dead reckoning. Years ago when I was taking flight lessons to earn my pilots license my instructors used to talk about pilotage and dead reckoning, or the ability to use your senses to determine your position using visual clues, last known location, speed and time. It’s not clear why “dead” was used, but most likely is from the nautical term “dead in the water.” Being dead in the water means to not be moving. Sailors would toss an object into the water and watch it as their boat floated by to determine how fast the boat was traveling. Since the object was not under power, or dead in the water, it provided a point by which to calculate speed and current. As you can imagine, there is a huge margin for error when using dead reckoning. Charles Lindbergh used dead reckoning in his historic transatlantic flight, since his aircraft had only basic instrument for navigation. Today with GPS and other navigation aids, dead reckoning is a lost art. But what will you do when your phone dies or doesn’t have signal? You’ll most likely be dead in the water, if you don’t reckon right.