Carl I.  Earth Measurer. Excerpt from unpublished
Out a Career
Tour of Aero Service Shoran Project in Canada
upon my return to Patrick, Virgil Kauffman sent one of his executives
down to see me. He spoke again of my joining the firm, and I
replied that I would retire shortly and would contact them at
that time. He then told me that Aero extended an invitation
to visit their Canadian Shoran photogrammetric project at their
expense. I thought it would be a good idea to inspect their
project before accepting an offer of employment. In a few days,
I cleared up the backlog of work at Patrick, applied for leave,
and flew to Philadelphia. After spending two days there, I was
a assigned liaison man to handle expenses, and we flew to Ottawa,
Canada, where the headquarters of Aero Canada was located. From
Ottawa we went west to Saskatoon where we were picked up by
a company airplane, and we flew north to Fort Norman on the
MacKenzie River where the Shoran party was based. It was a good
base and missions were flown from there daily, weather permitting.
I examined their methods of computation and went on one of their
line crossing missions on an east-west line over the Amundsen
Gulf. The line crossing was well above the Arctic Circle. I
had seen enough of their work, so I knew that with a few changes
I could bring the work up to my standards.
to Ft. Norman, I was taken on a flight to the shore of Great
Bear Lake. One who had not been in that area in summer had no
conception of the pests mosquitoes can be. Although our faces
and hands were covered with repellant and we wore headnets,
the swarms were so thick it seemed difficult to breathe. It
was even hard to see through the nets because of the swarms
of mosquitoes covering it. We were glad to be airborne again
after we had used the flit gun in the plane.
arriving in Philadelphia, I discussed the changes in techniques
and computations I wanted to make with Virgil. I told him of
my plans to retire, and he made me an offer which sounded very
good compared to my service salary. Later I realized that he
would have been willing to bargain, but I enjoyed my work and
have no regrets. He actually did give me a $4000 raise after
my first year with the company, and he was always most generous
with expenses. I assured him that I would retire in the spring
of 1955 and join him then.
to Permanent Rank of Captain
I was attached to the Air Force, my promotion to Captain had
been temporary and I had reverted to the rank of Commander upon
returning to the Coast and Geodetic Survey. While I was assigned
to the Missile Range, I served as an advisor and therefore was
still Commander. However, shortly after my return to Patrick,
I received my permanent promotion to Captain. I had been reluctant
to retire at an earlier date for the difference in my retired
pay was considerable.
the Officer's bowling league at Patrick I had taken up 10-pin
bowling and became fairly proficient. I was the oldest bowler
in the league, and the staff sergeant in charge of the alleys
took considerable interest in my bowling and coached me a good
deal. In May 1955 when the league season closed, certain prizes
were awarded. I was awarded the following prizes:
1st High Game 276
2nd High Series 658
3rd High Aver. 181.5
sergeant, following my promotion to Captain, said, "Do you mind
if I keep calling you Commander?" Captains are a dime a dozen
around here, and Commander sounds much better. So thereafter,
in spite of my stepping up a grade in rank, I always remained
Commander at the bowling alley.
Other Events During My Final Days at the Range
Hiran missions were flown out of Ramey Air Force Base, and I
had no control over when and where the lines were measured.
Therefore it was with some surprise that I received a letter
from the National Audobon Society protesting the flying operations
of "my group". It seems that, in flying the lines from the vicinity
of Great Inagua Island, they were disturbing the nesting grounds
of the pink flamingos. I made it clear that I was merely a technical
advisor and had no control over flying operations. I forwarded
the letter to Col. Hunkapillar, and that was the last I heard
of the matter.
another occasion Marian and I took a few days off and visited
Sanibel Id. in Florida to collect some shells. Upon returning,
I sorted them out and finding a lot of beach specimens I did
not wish to keep, I took them out to Cocoa beach one afternoon
and drove along the beach tossing out shells as I drove. For
two years thereafter, I kept hearing of the "new and unusual
shells" some one had found on Cocoa Beach. Upon driving off
the beach that day I got stuck in the sand, and Marian said
it was just retribution for fooling the local shell collectors.
when we were living at a large house we had rented north of
the base, I saw a most unusual sight. A mother cat was very
obviously training her kittens to stalk birds. She was slightly
behind and crouching low as they inched forward ahead of her.
However, they became impatient and suddenly dashed forward.
The bird flew away, and the mother cat leaped forward and soundly
cuffed the kittens with her front paws. It was obvious punishment
for their loss of patience.
south of that house, there was a couple who always started drinking
in the middle of the morning and continued throughout the day.
One day a Colonel, who was a friend of ours, came to the house
and asked Marian if she would pose for photographs on a sand
dune in front of the house. She had made a clever mermaid costume
which she had worn at a costume party on the base, and he wanted
to take her picture in natural surroundings. As she lay on top
of the dune, he crouched at the base to take her picture. Suddenly,
they heard a loud scream. The lady next door had gone out on
her front veranda, seen a live mermaid lying on the sand dune,
and thought she was hallucinating and dashed back into the house.
That was the last anyone saw of her for the rest of that day.
Position Determination of Ascension Island
of my final projects was to determine the geographic coordinates
of Ascension Island, lying midway between Brazil and the west
coast of Africa. Distances were too long for it to be located
by Hiran. When asked how it could be done, I gave them a plan.
Great accuracy was not required, and my plan would give them
the required accuracy.
essence, I called for the following observations:
(1) Five astronomic positions to be made on the island, one
on the mountain in the center and four others to be distributed
on four sides.
(2) A series of lines of gravity observations to be observed
at sea spaced about 75 to 100 miles apart and extending out
from the island for at least 100 miles.
gravity observations could only be made with the Vening Meinesz
submarine gravity instrument, and the cooperation of the Navy
in supplying the submarine and the observers was required.
observations could then be used in a rather long computation
called an isostatic-topographic reduction to give the coordinates.
However, I stated that the accuracy might not be better than
100 meters. The latter computation would have to be done by
the Coast Survey, and it would be necessary to transfer funds
to them for that purpose.
sounds like a tall order, and so it proved to be. The difficulty
was in securing the cooperation of the Navy. As usual, the request
for the submarine went through channels and after the usual
delays the Air Force received a flat NO. However, Captain Jimmy
Tison, a Coast Survey officer and a good friend of mine was
serving in the Pentagon as a technical advisor to the Air Forces.
When the Air Force request was rejected, I telephoned to Jimmy
and told him of the request and the rejection. In a very short
time, the top brass in the Pentagon passed the word down to
provide the submarine along with the instrument and observers.
We not only got our survey, but to the position of Ascension
along the missile path they ran four profiles of gravity which
greatly added to our geophysical knowledge. I visited the submarine
at Key West before they started on the mission, and the submarine
officers expressed their gratitude to me for making the arrangements
possible. They had wanted to make the survey and were greatly
disappointed when it was first turned down.
is interesting to note that when the survey of relative positions
over the entire earth was made a number of years later by observing
the directions of a satellite in space, the position determined
by that method checked the position as determined by the gravity
survey within thirty meters, or about three times the accuracy
I had promised them. The satellite method had an error of that
order, but the check gave considerable confidence on both methods.
day as I was driving into Cocoa, I picked up a soldier who was
hitching a ride. He appeared to be an Oriental, but when he
said, "Just imagine! No snow in January!" I recognized him as
an Eskimo. I began to talk about Alaska, and soon he said, "You
know more about Alaska than I do!" He had never been far from
his home on Nunivak Island and, of all places, he had been assigned
to the range in Florida.
Last Hiran Project in the Pacific
the conclusion of the Missile Range Survey, the Air Force undertook
a large scale Hiran project in the Western Pacific. In theory,
it would have been very useful, but from all accounts that was
not true. It was undertaken without adequate geodetic supervision.
From what I could learn, no azimuth control was provided, and
it is doubtful if the trilateration was ever used in mapping
the islands. It is hoped that some of the distances could be
incorporated in other types of geodetic connections. Possibly,
when combined with some of the satellite work, they may have
been put to some use, but no publicity was ever given to the
work. Shortly afterwards, the Hiran organization was disbanded,
and a useful tool for certain types of geodetic control was
lost for good.
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