Aircraft navigation, how does it work?


While the topic might sound a bit intriguing to most, airport navigation is not rocket science but is nothing less than that as well. If you feel you are confused and it wrecks your ming how pilots use airport navigation then let us help you get a grasp on this intriguing topic.

Basically airport navigation is a combination of different methodologies that when used collectively help form a path and how the pilots have to go through the journey. These systems help the pilots use navigation to go through the airspace system. But this differs for every different type of flight that occues, it could be VFR or IFR. The type of the navigation system also defines the navigation system as these may be different for certain areas.

Here are a few ways that pilots use to fly the planes

Pilotage And Dead Reckoning

Both pilotage and dead reckoning help pilots reach the first and basic level required to fly. While pilotage means using visual ground references, where you identify landmarks such as buildings, airport, towns or even river bodies. Dead reckoning is a more precise method where evaluating the visual checkpoints and calculating the distance is adhered to.

For making dead reckoning more precise, certain checkpoints are chosen that can be easily identified by the pilots. These checkpoints are easily mappable and the distance between each checkpoint is calculated and made available to the pilots. This helps the pilots identify the map, calculate the time to be taken to fly from one checkpoint to another. This also helps estimate the requisite airspeed and keep a track of the wind calculations.

Radio Navigation

One of the primary methods for aircraft navigation, radio navigation is a feature installed in each and every aircraft. Generally called radio navigation aids or NAVAIDS, this provides the most accurate navigation than any other methodology mentioned above as well. The radio navigation is a savior when it comes to navigating paths in low visibility conditions as well. Radio NAvigation helps general aviation pilots to navigation the path easily and more precisely.

Different types of NAVAIDS are used for different types of plane flights such as ADF/NDB, a basic form of radio navigation hence not used generally now. Then comes the VOR short for VHF Omnidirectional Range, system which is considered the most commonly used NAVAIDS. Another one is the ILS or instrument landing system that follows an instrument approach system to guide aircrafts from the approach phase of flight down to the runway. And last but not the least is the DME or Distance Measuring Equipment a simple yet valuable NAVAIDS.


The Global Positioning System is highly reckoned for used at all airport transfers, all airport and aircraft navigations as well. From airport taxi to aircrafts, all make use of the GPS very efficiently as this system is less prone to errors than NAVAIDS or Dead reckoning.

These are three three air navigation ways that help pilots fly around the world and take you places. If you are looking for airport transfers or a taxi to airport click here.

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