This year – 2018 – marks the 90th Anniversary of the Weems & Plath brand. We are proud to continue the legacy of this remarkable navigation innovator in our store in Annapolis, Maryland. Some snippets of his background may be of interest to history buffs amongst us.
Founder Capt. Philip V. H. Weems, a U.S. naval officer and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, was an early pioneer of navigation first by sea and then by air, testing and teaching new techniques of celestial navigation.
Weems improved the processes and equipment for fixing position. He also established programs and schools to educate many of the most influential aviators of the 1930s including Charles Lindbergh and his wife and co-pilot, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. His greatest legacy was influencing the air navigation programs of U.S. airlines and the military. His techniques became the standard for long-range navigation for three decades.
P.V.H. Weems first demonstrated his new methods of celestial air navigation in a Navy mail plane off the coast of California in 1927.
Of note is that Captain Weems offered to teach Amelia Earhart celestial navigation before her ill-fated second attempt to fly around the world. Unfortunately, she declined, citing too much work to do preparing for this flight to take the time. Fred Noonan, Amelia’s navigator, WAS trained by Capt. Weems.
The never-ending fascination with Earhart’s plane, and where she may have disappeared, continues eighty years later. The Weems & Plath office recently received a call from someone affiliated with a new group trying to locate her plane. He was hoping to learn about the method that Weems would have taught Noonan that might help them determine how he would have navigated at the time of loss.
Who knows what the outcome of her flight might have been had the both spent time with Captain Weems beforehand?
If travel takes you to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, be certain to check out the Time and Navigation Exhibit to learn more about Captain Weems.