Captain Phillip Van Horn Weems, US Navy (Ret.)
Born in 1889 of humble beginnings and as an orphan, He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1912, specializing in navigation. Due to Weems interest in aviation navigation, and later space navigation, he was always trying to simplify the process to help cope with faster craft. By 1928, Weems took a month’s leave from the Navy and taught celestial navigation to Charles A. Lindbergh before his solo flight.
Captain Philip Van Horn Weems was instrumental in revolutionizing modern navigation and was an active participant in navigational advances from the time of his sailing cruise aboard the USS Hartford in 1909 to his patent in 1961 of the space navigation sphere.
Milestones of Capt. Weems include:
In 1919, while on board a station tracking ship, witnessed the challenge of the first transatlantic flight.
He was on the Olympic wrestling team in Antwerp in 1920
Teaching Charles Lindbergh navigation prior to his Atlantic solo flight.
Teaching navigation to Fred Noonan, Chief Navigator for Pan Am – disappeared with Amelia Earhart.
Retired in 1933 with the rank of Commander
Weems was recalled after the outbreak of WWII, as a Convoy Commodore, retiring once more at the end of the war.
Invented the second setting watch, accurately setting of the second hand of a wrist watch.
In 1948, Weems flew to the North Pole and in 1950 flew around the world.
Modified sextant to operate independent of horizon
Proportional Dividers (1953),
Developed highly accurate speed-time-distance computer.
Pioneered underwater navigation for mapping wrecks and salvage.
Mapping Port Royal, published 1960 National Geographic.
Teaching, designing space navigation for US space program
In 1961 recalled oldest naval officer in history at 72.
He continued to contribute to ocean, air and space navigation, until passing away in 1979 at 90.