Terrestrial navigation will be completed as of tomorrow! This is when we are having our final exam. Yes, I feel ready! Our instructor has been great about showing us lots of examples to ensure we know how to do the questions given to us.
This past week we learnt how to do great circle sailing and a few other navigation methods. One of the main ones that we spent a lot of time on was composite great circle. Before we started learning this method, we first had to learn how to do the great circle method. As we were going along, I noticed that one of the boards at the front of the class was filling up with just one question.
“This is a huge process to complete one question”, one of the cadets said. The instructor replied “Just wait, when we get to composite great circle, we will need two boards to solve one question.” I thought he was just kidding! Then it came time to learn the composite great circle. He was not kidding!
You know when you see mathematicians with a huge board in front of them and they are working on a huge math question? That feeling of ‘how does anyone even know how to do something like this?’ comes to mind for most. I know it did for me. Until now. Over the last couple weeks, our class has been learning the different tools or methods for navigation. I call them tools because that is exactly what they are. The more tools you have, the more you can build, in order to put things into perspective.
The photo I have posted this week is the first question we solved with the composite great circle. This looks very daunting at first but when you break it down, the answer consists of nothing more then using a cosine and sine law, Napiers rule, parallel sailing, finding the longitude and then just basic addition. These are all tools we learned this last couple weeks and this question is just putting it all together!
Like with anything, learning the foundations are very important. Along with hard work and determination, this will help you build a spectacular masterpiece! That and learning how to do really cool math questions!