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  • Your purchase will match the quality of the items shown.

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Item Description:

Please note that due to the large size of these instruments (about 12 x 7 x 5 inches and 7 pounds in weight), returns are not accepted except in the case of damage during shipping.

  • Instrument Type: Directional gyro module of the A3-A Automatic Pilot. The pilot would make adjustments on this instrument to automatically maintain the direction of flight.
  • Manufacturer: Sperry or Jack & Heintz
  • Part Number: Type A3-A (Army) or Mark 3A (Navy)
  • Possible Aircraft: Bombers such as the B-24 Liberator, the B-25 Mitchell. Fighter such as the P-61 Black Widow. Transports such as the C-46 Commando, C-47 Dakota, and C-54 Skymaster.

Warning: Like most World War II aircraft instruments, this item contains radium paint. This was applied so that the pilot could see the instrument readings even in complete darkness, as the radium would glow slightly. However, radioactive antiques are typically not considered a health risk unless they are damaged or disassembled. For more information, please refer to this article by the Environmental Protection Agency that covers radioactive antiques.

Unfortunately we cannot ship this item internationally.

The cockpit of a B-17 Flying Fortress, showing an array of aircraft instruments.

During World War II, aviation became crucial in warfare, evident from the Battle of Britain to significant battles in the Pacific and the deployment of nuclear bombs. Major powers like Germany, Japan, Britain, the US, and the USSR built vast air forces, engaging in extensive aerial and ground battles. Bombing emerged as a key strategy, and the aircraft carrier proved vital.

Advancements in aviation technology were propelled by military needs. The efficient cantilever monoplane dominated, although some older biplanes were used. Aircraft performance soared with the introduction of jet and rocket engines at the end of the war, and avionics evolved with innovations like power-assisted controls, sophisticated navigation aids, and radar.

With such high demand for airplanes, there was also a massive need for aircraft instruments, which are devices used within an airplane's cockpit to provide pilots with information necessary for flight.

Many WWII-era instruments were used with multiple airframes, as versatility was important during wartime. Some values would be painted directly on the outside of the glass, so that the instrument was not confined to the values of a certain type of airplane. Because of this, identifying exactly what aircraft an instrument was used in can prove challenging or impossible, but military records do state what types of aircraft each instrument would have been compatible with.

The specific batch of aircraft instruments purchased by History Hoard were auctioned off by the U.S. government in the years following World War II. Before we acquired them, they were being stored at a military base near Pueblo, Colorado.

All purchases include a Certificate of Authenticity. You will receive the exact item in the photos above.

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