Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Admiral Gago Coutinho was a pilot for the Portuguese Navy in the 1920s. He is famous for his 1922 flight across the South Atlantic with fellow navigator, Commander Sacadura Cabral, the first flight to use celestial navigation for an oceanic crossing. Admiral Coutinho designed the instrument and developed the methods for the flight. He worked with C. Plath, a German manufacturer of nautical instruments, to improve the sextant over the next 15 years.




bulk 1922


Embassy of Portugal, Gift, 1988


0.05 Cubic feet ((1 folder))


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials


Scope and Contents

This accession includes a map of the flight and seven photographs. Two photos are of the Fairey IIID Mk. II Seaplane "Lusitânia," Three are of the Fairey IIID Seaplane "Santa Cruz," the airplane which made the flight, and one of those three includes the pilots, Carlos Viegas Gago Coutinho and Artur de Sacadura Cabral. The remaining two photos are of sextants. The first is the original sextant used on the 1922 flight. The second is the commercial version manufactured by C. Plath. Finally, there are the manuscripts on the new sextant: one in English, one in Spanish, and one in German.




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Gago Coutinho, Carlos Viegas

Sacadura Cabral, Artur de (Artur de Sacadura Freire Cabral)

Topics Aeronautics
Fairey IIID Seaplane
Transatlantic flights


Admiral Gago Coutinho Collection, Accession 1988-0091, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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