Collection of the personal papers of Michael Pearson relating to his work on the Omnitrac airborne computer for Decca Navigator Company

Pearson, Michael

Includes Decca technical proposals, brochures, and reports. Also included are Pearson’s presentations, pilot guides, manuals and instructions, and some correspondence, almost all of the period c. 1960 to 1970s. There are also notes covering theory, programming and operation.

Omnitrac was a digital navigation computer that converted hyperbolic co-ordinates into Cartesian co-ordinates (i.e. longitude and latitude). It allowed the pilot to monitor where the aircraft was located in relation to ground features, rather than arbitrarily tracking flight progress in relation to geographically distorted points on a hyperbolic map. It provided the pilot with a pictorial display on which the present position and track of an aircraft was continuously plotted in real time. This significantly cut down on the amount of work that needed to be done during flight as pilots could accurately see, rather than estimating, the position in relation to the ground. Safety was also improved by clearly plotting the relationship of the aircraft to known geographical hazards. Accuracies in the order of a few miles could be achieved on transatlantic flights. Accuracies of a few meters could be achieved under short range flight conditions. Omnitrac was used widely in civil flight applications, mainly by British-based companies.


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