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Octants were not normally used in fighter aircraft or other single person aircraft for two reasons: the pilot needs to focus on flying the aircraft. Using an octant takes two hands and some concentration in an aircraft that is being kept steady and level. Also, there is not really any room to store something that big in a cockpit of a fighter or similar aircraft as the cockpits are very tight and small. Octants were used mainly on larger multi-crew aircraft including transports and cargo aircraft, observation and reconnaissance aircraft (especially ones that spent a long time over water where there were no ground references), bombers, and so on where there was a navigator who could concentrate on taking measurements, doing calculations, and plotting the results. Many of these larger WW II era aircraft even had little plexiglass bubbles installed on the top of the fuselage where the navigator would put his head with the octant to his eye to take the sightings.
In addition to the pilot's instrument panel, aircraft clocks could also be found in larger aircraft installed at the radio operator's station and the navigator's station.
Here is a link to a copy of Army Field Manual F 1-30 which is on aircraft navigation and provides some basic information.
In looking at Sam's Wakkman watch (I think he meant to type Wakmann) shown earlier in this thread I was wondering if it is as old as WW II? I have not been able to find any reliable references as to when the U.S. military first began to procure timepieces from Wakmann but from what I have been able to see so far on various Wakmann aircraft timepieces they seem to be more 1960s and later in vintage (or perhaps late 1950s) than 1940s. Does anyone know for sure when the U.S. military first began procuring aircraft timepieces from Wakmann? Also, when did the Wakmann company start up?
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Not sure if this will help answer your question but Wakmann registered there 1st trademark in this country in 1945.
The company was founded by Icko Wakmann who was born in Russia & came to this country in 1943. He was also the retired president of the Relide Clock Company when he died in 1981.
Found another article that says he started Wakmann in 1943.
Thanks, Tom. That is a start. I would still love to hear when they first started making timepieces for the military and which models were their first military ones.
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Here is Icko Wakmann's WWII Draft Registration Card
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