Do You Know How Pilots Use Various Air Navigation While Flying?

Do You Know How Pilots Use Various Air Navigation While Flying?

March 18, 2021 Off By John Authen

Did you ever wonder how pilots are flying different routes and reach from one airport to another? Or why often they need to zig zag their path and do not directly fly from one point to another point?

We will discuss briefly all about navigation in this article and to get more information you can read further about navigation in detail from the websites of Flight Literacy.

Air navigation can be accomplished by many different methods. However, the system or the method that a pilot will use for their navigation through today’s airspace system may depend upon the type of flight and also the type of navigation systems are usually installed on any aircraft, and which system of navigation are usually available in a certain specific area.

Here are a few key tools and techniques that are used by pilots for navigation.

Dead reckoning and pilotage

This is the simplest level, how navigation is accomplished. Pilot refers to the use of various visual ground references. The pilot can identify landmarks by looking at rivers, airports, towns, and buildings.

The problem with pilotage is, often, references cannot be easily seen or identified, and hence the idea of dead reckoning has come into the picture.

The dead reckoning will involve visual checkpoints by calculating time and distances. The pilot will look at the checkpoints that are easy to see from the air and at the same time make the calculation based on distance and time taken to travel.

Radio navigation methods used in aircraft

All aircrafts these days are equipped with various radio navigation aids so that pilots can accurately navigate them with the above method. During low visibility conditions, such radio navigation is very useful that can act as a backup method for the pilot who prefers the dead reckoning method.

Instead of flying from one checkpoint to another checkpoint, pilots can easily fly in a straight line to find an airport.

There are a few different types of radio navigation used in aviation.

1.     Automatic direction finder

The ADF/NDB is the most elementary type of direction finder that is stationed on the ground that will emit an electrical signal in different directions. If there is an ADF system present in an aircraft then it will display the position of the aircraft.

2.     VHF omnidirectional range

Here the aircraft instrument will interpret the phase difference between the 2 signals to display the position of the aircraft. This method is more accurate and is less likely to give any errors.

3.     Distance measuring equipment

DME or Distance measuring equipment is the most simple and also most valuable navigation available today. DME will transmit on UHF frequencies and then compute slant-range distance.

4.     Instrument landing system

An ILS uses an instrument approach to guide aircraft to the runway. It will use both horizontal as well as vertical radio signals that are emitted from a point all along the runway.

5.     GPS navigation

GPS is the most preferred method for navigating because of its accuracy and also ease of use. GPS systems are used almost anywhere in the world, whether it is mountainous terrains too.